Thoughts on the iPhone 4

Dear Shawn,

I've been thinking a bit about the iPhone 4 launch and all the attendant hyperbole and downright whining going on. Tuesday morning, I hopped online to reserve our iPhone 4s. 3 minutes later, both were reserved. Every time I utter that, I feel a great disturbance in the Force, as if millions of voices suddenly cried out "I hate you!" and were suddenly silenced.

The 600,000 number has been thrown around quite a bit, but it's not the relevant number. 600,000 is merely the number of iPhones that were successfully reserved before they ran out of their reserved stock. It is not the number of people who were online attempting to reserve one. I don't know if anyone knows the real number, but it could be an order of magnitude higher.

When someone says that AT&T or Apple "should have known" how high the demand was going to be, I ask the question "Do you actually know how high it was?" Imagine if your store usually gets 50 customers for its events. Knowing that you've got unusually high demand, you plan for 100 - 200. Then you get socked with 1000.

Every one of these people had to access an AT&T account, which then had to be run through all its algorithms to determine what plan they were on and what they were eligible for. I wonder if the waiving of ETF for any who were eligible this year was simply for their own sake in a vain attempt to simplify matters. Again, this is all guessing. The fact remains, however, that the people complaining do not know what the real numbers are. I'll give them the benefit of the doubt.

As far as bandwidth goes, we must keep in mind not only how extremely expensive it is to service this many people, but also how hard it is to get new towers past red tape, local politicians who want their palms greased, and NIMBYs. It's an annoying situation to be in. If AT&T and Apple want to deflect complaints, however, they might want to consider being a little more open about what the problems really are.

But the fact remains that any time Apple puts out a new consumer device, it's a big deal. For those present on launch day, Apple makes it an event. My wife & I wanted iPhones the moment they were announced. At the time, however, we were still under contract with Sprint for our clunky Treo 650s, and it was a brand new, untested, imperfect product. The next year, however, we stood in line for the iPhone 3G on launch day. Apple employees came around with candy and bottles of water for people waiting in line. When we got inside and they noticed she was 7 months pregnant, they brought her a chair to sit in. Thursday the 24th is my last day of work before summer vacation. My wife & I will be heading to the Apple store that afternoon with not-quite-2-year old in tow, no doubt chasing her as she runs towards the store's eMacs which are configured with kids' games, screaming "Barney!" as she is wont to do. The horror.

If we had 3GS iPhones, we would not be clamoring for this one, I'm sure. My 8GB 3G, however, with a cracked glass plate (up in the corner away from the screen, thankfully) is definitely showing its age. I'm actually most looking forward to having the improved camera. Prior to accompanying my wife to a conference in Honolulu, we purchased a real camera, a Nikon D5000. Since then, our old point and shoot has been put away. The D5000 is too big and expensive to lug around for everyday purposes, so having a good camera in my pocket will be a great improvement.

Anyway, keep up the great work. You definitely seem much happier over the last few months, and the show has improved as a result. Your show tends to be at its best when you are amongst friends.


Peter Andreas Gøthgen
Mathematics Teacher
Hamlin Park Elementary School