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Apple does it again with the iPhone 4


Article by: Mike Barrett
Date: 27 Jun 2010

pocketgpsworld.comDespite the leaks surrounding the announcement of the iPhone 4 it looks like Apple have had their best launch ever with the latest incarnation of the iPhone. With reports and pictures to prove it the online orders were starting to be delivered on the 23rd, a day before the official launch. Darren and I (foolishly) decided that once again we would get our new iPhones from the largest Apple Store in the World: Regent St.

Fortunately we reserved the iPhones on the day they were available on the Apple Site. The fact that the reservations sold out in less than a day and the online orders started to push out into July should have told us somethingÖ

This launch was going to be big!

Read on to find out how big...

Bright and early on the 24th June we headed in to a sunny London to approach the Apple Store and find that some 3000 other people were doing the same thing as well and had beaten us to it. The queue snaked from the front door of the Apple Store all the way round the corner of Hanover St, down to Hanover Square and back again almost to Regent St. There were as many people looking to walk in and buy one as there was users that had reserved them.

The iPhone 4 Launch at the Apple Store Regent St London.


Fair play to Apple, they looked after us. There was bottled water, Starbucks coffee and Pret a Manger provided breakfast and lunch. The fact that Pret a Manger supplied us with lunch should tell you something: We were there for a long, long, long time! In fact we actually stood in the queue for six hours as it wound round the streets outside the store, and also round and round inside the Apple Store itself. Last year I got my 3GS from Carphone Warehouse with a wait of 5 minutes and Darren got his from Regent St Apple Store after waiting an hour.

The iPhone 4 Launch at the Apple Store Regent St London.


We were told that the Regent Street Apple Store had 7,000 reserved iPhone 4 handsets and 3,000 for walk-in customers. As we were approaching the head of the queue the Apple staff were starting to count the walk-in customers as it looked like they were going to run out of stock. Indeed the best seller in this store was the 16Gb and by the time we got to a sales person we were told the 16Gb iPhone 4 had been sold out unless you had reserved them.

The iPhone 4 Launch at the Apple Store Regent St London.


Fortunately we had reserved 3 iPhones, and they were sitting behind the Genius Bar waiting for us (along with hundreds of others). So Darren and I left happy bunnies, and MaFt will be early next week when I deliver his one.

The iPhone 4 Launch at the Apple Store Regent St London.
The iPhone 4 Launch at the Apple Store Regent St London.


We were lucky! Stores around the country did not fare quite so well. There were reports of O2 stores only having 25 or so devices, and other Apple Stores had far less stock. There were a lot of disappointed folks around the country and with little stock around those not successful may have quite a wait.

I did a tour of Lakeside shopping centre on Friday, the day after the launch and had a word with some of the stores there. Orange's flagship store said they opened at 7am and had 55 devices, O2 had a similar tale with 70 iPhones. Best Buy fared a little better with 100 iPhone 4s but no match for the demand. I then went to the Apple Store who still had a little stock that was selling out fast. This was the iPhones that had been reserved but had not been collected on launch day.
The iPhone 4 Launch at the Apple Store Regent St London.

When asked about when I could get an iPhone there were a number of different stories from different vendors: Orange said I could reserve one for a deposit, but it would take about a week to come in, O2 said they were expecting a delivery that day (and there was a queue) but they didn't know when or how many, Apple said they had deliveries every day, but didn't know if they would get any iPhones. Apple had staff working overnight stacking shelves with the iphones getting ready for the launch. The sales person I spoke to said she had been sorting out the iPhones all night and left for a well earned sleep just after the doors opened.

So all in all a pretty bleak outlook if you want a new iPhone 4 but didn't manage to snag one on launch day.

The question we had to ponder was why was there so much demand for the iPhone 4 compared to previous releases? Well I suppose one reason would be that the 3G was the device that really broke the mould. The 3GS was just an upgrade of the 3G, but the iPhone 4 looks to be a very major update. Combine this with the fact that the users on 3G contracts still had 6 months remaining when the 3GS was launched. For the iPhone 4 we were seeing unlocked SIM FREE phones for the first time, users out of contract, multiple carriers in the market, plus of course the Apple hype surrounding the iPhone, it is not really surprising that the demand was high.

Now we have learnt a valuable lesson: Make sure we order online early. That way we can still go to London to cover the launch, but we wont have to stand in a queue waiting to get it.

The overall impression of the day was amazement. It is almost unbelievable that a company can generate such a demand for a relatively expensive device that has most if the World clamouring for it, both the countries that were selling it and those that were not. At the end of the day Mr Jobs and his fellow Apple shareholders must have had big grins on their faces as the company bank balance must have swollen by a few billion in takings.

We will follow up with more details on the iPhone 4 and its capabilities in the next few days once the excitement has died down and we are able to make objective opinions of its performance and capabilities.
Comments
Posted by mark1968 on Sun Jun 27, 2010 1:10 pm Reply with quote

I was in the queue for the O2 shop in Northampton since 7am. The store was open at 8, had about 30 people in front of me. Someone had been there since 4.30 in the morning!

I was the last one to leave the store with a Iphone 4.

Feeling very lucky!


Please follow me on twitter @mdyson1968

 
Posted by darrengsaw on Sun Jun 27, 2010 7:27 pm Reply with quote

I'm certainly baffled how they manage to drum up such excitement.

An internal antenna that apparently doesn't actually give you a phone reception seems irrelevant when it comes to the latest idevice.


 
Posted by SpeedCam on Sun Jun 27, 2010 8:21 pm Reply with quote

Milton Keynes Apple store very similar, queues started at 7am and continued throughout the day, by close of play only reservations available. I was told that they had 600+ reservations. This was very different to the iPad release, queues at 7am, but cleared by 9:30....

I wasn't prepared to wait, but had a friendly call from a member of staff at 9:30 the following day suggesting that I may want to get to the store ASAP, which I did, and now I have a new 32GB iPhone.

Only trouble is my iTunes account has disappeared, and all my purchases are in someone elses name, and Apple don't seem to care. Luckily I have kept every iTunes receipt.


Speedcam

Model : HTC HD2, HTC Magic, iPhone 3g, GO 740, XL GO Live

 
Posted by SSR on Mon Jun 28, 2010 7:07 am Reply with quote

I got the 3GS last year, and was first in the queue at my local O2 store at 7am. This year I got there at 6:30 and was 7th in the queue. There must have been 50-60 people in the queue by 9am, but at least I was away by 9:30am!


 
Posted by DeLorean on Mon Jun 28, 2010 8:45 am Reply with quote

darrengsaw Wrote:
I'm certainly baffled how they manage to drum up such excitement.

An internal antenna that apparently doesn't actually give you a phone reception seems irrelevant when it comes to the latest idevice.


Iíve heard that if your hand is touching either of the lower corners of the phone the signal gets attenuated due to the metal rim of the phone being is used as the antenna (many modern mobile phones use metal cover parts as an antenna).

It's been reported that this is a real problem for left-hand users who are experiencing signal issues.

If anyone is experiencing this left-handed issue, I will happily give your iPhone 4 a new home as Iím right-handed Very Happy


>> Currently using a TomTom Go 910, 710, TomTom for Android & Trumpion TR-G1 <<

 
Posted by NickG on Mon Jun 28, 2010 8:48 am Reply with quote

Well demand might drop now that the rather large flaw of not actually being able to make calls reliably on it has reared it's ugly head. One of my friends has already cancelled his order and I guess lots of other people will be doing the the same thing. It's a worrying problem as if it turns out to be a hardware fault, it will not be fixable without a recall. Before it was even released, people were wondering how Apple had got round the fact that if you touch any antenna, you change it's resonant frequency. It seems they haven't - and as they were testing the iPhone 4 in plastic cases they didn't notice the problem themselves.

I can make my iPhone 4 drop an in-progress call just by passing to my left hand. If I'm holding it in my left hand playing a game or writing an email it quite often says "no service" but if I put it down on the table, I get 5 bars of full 3G signal within 10 seconds.


Twitter: @nickg_uk

 
Posted by MikeB on Mon Jun 28, 2010 9:09 am Reply with quote

NickG Wrote:
Well demand might drop now that the rather large flaw of not actually being able to make calls reliably on it has reared it's ugly head. One of my friends has already cancelled his order and I guess lots of other people will be doing the the same thing. It's a worrying problem as if it turns out to be a hardware fault, it will not be fixable without a recall. Before it was even released, people were wondering how Apple had got round the fact that if you touch any antenna, you change it's resonant frequency. It seems they haven't - and as they were testing the iPhone 4 in plastic cases they didn't notice the problem themselves.

I can make my iPhone 4 drop an in-progress call just by passing to my left hand. If I'm holding it in my left hand playing a game or writing an email it quite often says "no service" but if I put it down on the table, I get 5 bars of full 3G signal within 10 seconds.


I am not convinced that this is a massive problem. I am left handed myself and had made over 1 hour's worth of calls on the 24th with no problems before I read of the issues.

Of course now I know what to do I can also make my bars go away.

I went out the other day and bought a bumper for it. £25 to cure a design problem leaves a bad taste, but it also provides some protection for the iPhone too.


Mike Barrett
Editor, PocketGPSWorld.com
Follow PocketGPSWorld via our Twitter feeds: Darren and Mike.

 
Posted by NickG on Mon Jun 28, 2010 9:36 am Reply with quote

MikeB Wrote:
I am not convinced that this is a massive problem. I am left handed myself and had made over 1 hour's worth of calls on the 24th with no problems before I read of the issues.

Of course now I know what to do I can also make my bars go away. I went out the other day and bought a bumper for it. £25 to cure a design problem leaves a bad taste, but it also provides some protection for the iPhone too.


After having spent £500 to buy the phone, I'm pretty peeved that it has a reception problem. It's such an obvious problem to happen as well - anyone with basic electronics or RF knowledge will have guessed that this problem would have occurred and would have specifically tested for it during the development phase, but Apple conducted all their real world tests with the phones in plastic cases.

The bumpers now should be given out for free to anyone who requests them as they are vital to ensure full signal strength is maintained at all times.

Call reception *is* certainly affected if you hold the phone a certain way (the normal way) and that simply shouldn't be the case. The problem should be fixed by Apple (at any cost) under the grounds of 'not fit for purpose'.

To be honest, in the office where I have a strong signal - I cannot even reproduce the problem. At home where it's marginal, it can make the difference between an incoming call ringing, or going to voice-mail if I'm holding the phone. The problem is easily reproducible in poor signal areas and it needs to be addressed by Apple instead of them just saying "there's no reception issue" when there are dozens of youtube videos proving it.


Twitter: @nickg_uk

 
Posted by SSR on Mon Jun 28, 2010 9:48 am Reply with quote

Gizmodo were running a poll on it, and it seemed to be a 50/50 split when I last checked (for those having the issue versus those not).

It doesn't really affect me, due to the way I hold the phone, but I'm amazed (a) this issue made it past Apple's design staff and (b) that Apple have responded so poorly to it; the email from Steve Jobs was ridiculous!

Apple seem to be dropping the ball a lot lately.


 
Posted by NickG on Mon Jun 28, 2010 9:53 am Reply with quote

SSR Wrote:
Gizmodo were running a poll on it, and it seemed to be a 50/50 split when I last checked (for those having the issue versus those not).


Assuming that scales to all buyers: Apple have sold about 2.5 million phones so far, so that's 1.25 million people who have a reception problem after buying one of the most expensive phones on the market. That's going to be a BIG problem for Apple. I suspect most people who can't reproduce the problem are in a strong signal area where the signal isn't attenuated enough to cause the meter to change (which is true for me at the office). They'd better start stamping out those bumpers...


Twitter: @nickg_uk

 
Posted by SSR on Mon Jun 28, 2010 10:16 am Reply with quote

Even the bumper solution is fairly dreadful. Surely not everyone's going to want to use a case, or Apple's (stupidly overpriced) case which doesn't even protect the back of the phone.

This needs a proper physical fix, if that's possible without replacing the phone.


 
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