It was a beautiful morning for the iPhone launch, the warm sun offsetting the cool breeze as I biked to the Rogers Store on Broadway and Arbutus. Seemingly every major and minor media outlet in town was there to capture the gadget fetishists in traditional morning line-up. Good thing I didn’t actually intend to get the phone today, as the line was at least 150 people long, half an hour before opening. My roommate, who had been in line since 5am, was about 40th in line. Rogers employees passed out raffle tickets and drew numbers for prizes of t-shirts, umbrellas, and gift cards. The press release had mentioned breakfast for people in line; I saw none yet but overheard that it would be apple juice and apple turnovers. Clever.
Rogers employees were also passing out applicable forms to be filled out while waiting. After the ~30th in line, people were being told that there would be no 16 GB iPhones left. This disappointed many, as it seemed that a majority had intended to go for 16 GB. The 8 GB models seemed to be in ample supply.
Nearing 8am, cameras and reporters huddled around the door. I overhear two cameramen chatting “..I don’t know what the deal is, it’s just a phone..”. Behind them, reporters peck at their Blackberries. Rogers employees start a countdown, cheer, open the door- no wait, not ready yet. Pause. After a minute, the first few in line are let in. The line seems to lack the enthusiasm that you might see at, per se, an Apple Store opening. These weary waiters just want their phones.
Despite Rogers’ 11th hour compromise, there was still one “protester” on the corner, wearing a shirt encouraging people to “Boycott Robbers Wireless iPhone”. The line was unswayed, but he did get interviewed by reporters.
I take a few more pictures and get ready to leave. “Excuse me sir, are you in line?”, a Rogers employee asks. No, just talking to my friend here. “Alright, we’re just trying to keep the sidewalk clear.” Rogers, I’ve waited fifteen years to have a Mac in my pants. For the next three years, you can passively order me to do whatever you want.
Biking to work, I saw a couple men waiting outside the Rogers dealer in Yaletown. These guys had the right idea: go where the line isn’t. As I get into the office, I get a text message from my roommate: “The first guy hasn’t activated yet. Worldwide servers down. -8:58am” Now, two hours later, I’ve been updated that the line has started moving, but that they’ve only gotten through ~30 people since the store opened three hours ago.
Meanwhile, I read that Apple aficionado John Biehler (the first guy to show me an iPhone last August) managed to pick one up at a London Drugs Rogers dealer in Coquitlam, but hasn’t been able to activate it due to iTunes activation problems that have been reported throughout Canada and the US.
Were you able to get an iPhone this morning? Were there activation problems or delays? Are you sick of hearing about it? Comment up and share your story.
More pictures, after the jump.