The iPhone 3G release on July 11, 2008


One of the craziest day to start of the summer and the recession 4 years ago.

I planned on going to this release with a friend of mine and I was thinking of checking out the Apple Store in Santa Monica to see the action there, but when I called her that morning, she said in the last minute that she was going to get it at the AT&T store in North Hollywood on Lankershim and Oxnard, just close to where I used to grow up back in the day. After my plans nixed up, I still wanted to go check out the hype and buzz at an Apple Store that I haven’t been to. I didn’t want to go to stores in Northridge, Topanga, Glendale or the Beverly Center since I gone there several times. I certainly didn’t want to go to the one in Sherman Oaks cause I was just laid off from there two months prior, otherwise I could’ve been working on that day which I’ll describe later.

So instead I decided to go check out the Apple Store in the Simi Valley Town Center since I haven’t been there that much. I left at like 6 AM when it was dawn that morning. As I arrived, the parking lot was empty. I took a some sunset photos rising through the Simi Hills and then some of the Koi fish that was swimming at the pond inside the mall. When I got to the Apple store, there were about 6 people there waiting. I talked to the first guy there and he said that he got here at 5AM and he also told me that there were more people waiting at the AT&T store just on the other side of the mall.

I walked over there and saw that there were about 20 people waiting at outside the AT&T store front. One dude brought a TV with his portable sattelite dish so that he can watch SportsCenter while he waits, and the power was being generated from his Toyota Rav4. The photograph above with the people patiently waiting was taken from the front of the AT&T store. A few minutes later, I went back to the Apple store line and saw that more people had showed up. I think I was the 25th person in the line, but I was in line just to check out the iPhone 3G instead of buying it cause I wasn’t with AT&T at the time. As time went on I saw some of the sales associates arrive and opened up the store to prepare for the event. I then took some video of the long expanded line with my then Sony Cybershot DSC-H3 point and shoot camera. Some people were skeptical and got insecure since they didn’t want to be seen.


Later on the store finally opened for the customers and they let in about 5 people at a time. The only strange part was that the line didn’t move for at least 30 minutes. I then went to the front 15 minutes later and photographed the first customer who just purchased the iPhone 3G. I asked him what happened and he said that it took awhile for the phone setup to get through, and that the Mac Specialists have to open the iPhone 3G box and set it up for you as opposed to taking it home and doing it for yourself like with the  first generation iPhone the year before. Weird, I thought. The store manager then came out and apologized to everyone for the long wait and thanked them for being patient. I went back to my spot in line, but then decided to sell my spot cause I been here at the Simi Valley Town Center for almost 5 hours and I could’ve played with the phone already. I didn’t want to wait any longer, so I went all the way to the back of the line to ask anyone if they wanted to buy my spot. This one short lady came up and agreed to buy my spot and told me that she was supposed to be at work in a few minutes. I told her that I’ll sell it for $10. I would’ve sold it for more, but I wasn’t in the mood to out-hustle anybody that day and I needed to put some gasoline in my car, so she gave me the 10 bucks and I just went home.

Before I got home, I stopped at 7-Eleven to get some free Slurpees since it was the annual “Free Slurpee Day” on July 11. When I got home, I read on MacRumours and CNET (before I hated that site) that AT&T and Apples servers crashed from all the stores in the United States activating the customer’s iPhone 3G simultaneously, which caused the long lines to delay. No wonder the line wasn’t moving at the Simi Valley store, and if the store manager informed us about that before I left, then I wouldn’t have charged that lady for my spot. Since I had extra time left, I drove down to Northridge Fashion Center later that afternoon only to see A LONGER LINE, and this line was extended passed Old Navy and went way out the door. That shit was sad as fuck.

This shit went on for about a week. One of my buddies and I went to the Manhattan Village in Manhattan Beach since he lived close by there to see if we can check out the iPhone 3G at the Apple Store inside Manhattan Village. Sure enough, there was a long line there and the security guard weren’t allowing anybody there to check out the store’s products, which was the first time I ever heard there. I even showed the guard my business card from when I worked with them earlier that year and that lead to a quick dispute that got me and my friend kicked out from there.

When the late Steve Jobs said back at the MacWorld 2007 keynote that the device was gonna change telecommunications forever, he was damn right. Its as if the iPhone is the flagship must have mobile device to have, cause it had features that cell phone never had before its debut and it blew everyone’s mind when they first saw it in person. I remember messing with the first iPhone at the Glendale Apple Store back on June 2007, a day after it launched and there were no long crazy ass lines. I really liked it and I was surprised that you can make ACTUAL phone calls in the store with this shit.

So to those getting the highly anticipated iPhone 5 tomorrow, including those camping out in front of the 5th Avenue Apple Store for the past week, I just hope this doesn’t cost you your job or pray that the professor in your Biology class doesn’t throw out a surprise pop quiz that’s two-thirds of your grade. And God forbid that if any of the above does happen, then just spending the rest of your unemployment money and lifestyle hitting on Siri and checking out the Statue of Liberty’s booty in the 3D Maps application on your new device should be worth it.

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