So, you didn’t get one, huh? Well, we did. Just goes to show that some folks don’t have much to do other than stand in line for 8 hours to claim what my wife has labeled “another stupid toy.” Yes, the ultimate iToy. Boys and their toys! Apple has had the better part of four years to perfect Mac OS X, and it shows in the iPhone.
So here’s our software report card: Synching, flawless Bluetooth, flawless Wi-Fi, flawless POP3 and IMAP Email, flawless iPod, flawless Photos, flawless Calendars, flawless Address Book, flawless Safari, flawless Camera, flawless
The iPhone will take its place as one of the most revolutionary computers in the 21st century. And we think it may well be one of the best computers with one of the best computer interfaces ever delivered. But note that we said “best computers” not “best phones.” It’s an incredibly good travelling Wi-Fi device, and that’s probably how it will be remembered ten years from now. And AT&T. Well, they’re still just as lousy as they were 10 years ago.
Before turning to Asterisk, we wanted to quickly review our iPhone chronology for those who are considering a purchase. Bottom line: buy it from Apple. We didn’t because they don’t yet have a store in the entire state of South Carolina. They still manage to charge sales tax for web purchases, however.
Friday. Let’s start with AT&T. We arrive at a totally deserted store in the middle of a Mattress Factory strip mall at 10:30 a.m. on Friday. There are 12 people in line, the first six of whom are so-called iSitters, people paid a couple hundred bucks to wait in line for someone else. In our case, the #1 iSitter is standing in for Catherine Bell, the star of Lifetime TV’s Army Wives which is being filmed in Charleston. She arrives at 5 p.m. with her daughter in tow… in a brand new Porsche, of course. The TV crew promptly wets their pants. No one much complains that Catherine and her entourage assume their place at the front of the line. But, does the iSitter leave? Well, no. AT&T staff are totally clueless. They’ve been sitting in their (empty) air conditioned store all day doing absolutely nothing except turning down iPhone wanna-be’s asking to use the bathroom. “We don’t have one” is the stock reply. And the Store Manager’s one minute of fame consists of telling the ABC reporters that everyone in line will be taken care of “one way or another.” Turns out, most folks get the “another” option. The store gets 15 phones delivered in a book bag by an AT&T delivery truck at about 4:30 p.m. They don’t trust their employees either! So, for most of the hundreds who have waited, their only option is to wait another “two to three days” to have one shipped to them. Heh, heh. Anyone want to take that bet?
Then there was the moment of truth. Six p.m. and the doors swing open for the first five in line. They, of course, make an exception for the Army Wives entourage. By the time they’re finished, there is one 8-gig iPhone and six 4-gig iPhones left. We snag one of the 4-gig models after AT&T recovers thirty minutes later from their first nationwide network implosion. They can’t even process a credit card transaction without a meltdown. Just another day for the A&T repair crews. With our iPhone in hand, we head out the door and do a quick package unopening for the local news crew. They’re thrilled. Then we’re off to play.
Any Windows XP machine with the latest version of iTunes works with the iPhone. But, if you’re a loyal Mac user, you have an extra hurdle. Only the very latest version of Tiger works and you need the latest version of iTunes as well. If any of this were operating system-dependent, we could understand the limitation. But this appears to be a way to sell more Mac OS X upgrades. Back in law school, they called it tying. We decide to use Windows XP and skip the Panther-to-Tiger upgrade hassle.
You register the iPhone and sign up for service using iTunes. The whole process takes less than 10 minutes and is flawless… at least for us. Remember, it’s not yet 6 p.m. on the West Coast. So the second wave of registration meltdowns has not yet begun. We decide to start off lean and mean to see how far 4 gigabytes goes. We load 500 songs, a couple of music videos, and 50 photos plus a dozen or so contacts just to be sure we have a stable system. We then add an IMAP email account and a gMail POP3 account. We still have a gig and a half of storage which looks pretty reasonable to us. We call it a night at midnight after a couple of quick calls to our Asterisk PBX. Everything works swimmingly.
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