Saturday, July 12, 2008

Pass the Kool Aid on the left hand side

Many of my friends will probably be surprised at the content of this picture. When the iPhone was launched, I really could not have cared less. My main two reasons for the lack of giving a shit were it was outrageously overpriced, ridiculously oversized (as a handset) and most of all, so very very slow as it was only 2G. I was not in the least bit interested in it, and I stayed that way.

Until, that is, my current mobile service provider and handset began to suck both in earnest and in unison. One or the other, I could have tolerated, but both together just about drove me to distraction. The area of the UK I live in is something of a network coverage black hole. It just so happens that the network who has the best coverage in my area are also the sole network offering the iPhone in the UK. The handset I used to have froze all the fucking time and had the most difficult keypad ever. Combine this with having to hang out of my bedroom window by one finger whilst reciting the bible backwards just to get one bar of signal and a new phone with a new provider is looking like a good deal.

So the iPhone 3G is announced. Twice as fast and half the price, which takes care of two of the three reasons I wasn't interested in the phone. It now looks sleek, slick and so very thin too. Whether it was always like that and the high price caused a blind spot, I'm not sure. But still, it's purty. Unfortunately, getting my hands on one was a little less straightforward than it could have been. The day the phone release was announced for July 11th, you could "pre-register" your interest with O2, to be alerted when they started taking preorders. This was open to existing customers wanting to upgrade and new customers to O2. Fine. I register, and I get an email telling me the iPhone is almost here and preordering begins soon. This past Monday, July 7th, I get an email at 7:45am telling me that from 8am, preordering will be up and running exclusive to those who registered with the site. So I go to the site at 8am and I whizz through the purchase process. My confirmation email is timed at 8:12am.

So far, so fabulous. Until this Thursday, July 10th rolls around. The preorder site went into meltdown at around 9:30am and crashed for a little while. At 3pm, the preorders were sold out and no further online or over the phone orders have yet been taken. According to O2, they were receiving as many as 13,000 orders per second, an absolutely unbelievable number. So, when I get a text from O2, apologising for my poor experience on Monday and to log on to the website for an update, alarm bells begin to ring. But it seems to be a long winded apology to everyone who was not successful in completing the check out or upgrade process due to the website meltdown and it says, quite clearly, that if you placed an order on Monday and it was successful, your phone will be with you July 11th and that will be confirmed by text before 6pm. Well, I get emails telling me my order is being processed, but by 7pm, no text confirming it's being delivered. I arranged the day off work as wouldn't you know it, the crippled lesbian got herself a day's worth of hospital appointments and wouldn't be home. I switched it around to work today instead. So I call them, to make sure I'm not effing with my schedule for no reason and I am told that most definitely, my phone will be delivered tomorrow. Fine.

By 11:30am on the 11th, I've still heard nothing from nobody. So I call O2 customer services again, I give them my order number and I'm told that my phone is not in stock and will not be delivered today. Unfortunately orders are processed on first come first served basis and by the time my order was placed, the preorder allocation was gone. I point out that my order was confirmed just 12 minutes after the preorders began, at least an hour before the site melted down and seven hours before the online store closed due to being sold out. How, I asked them, could that mean my order was out of stock? Did this mean nobody who placed an order after 8:15am on Monday was receiving their phone today? Apparently it did, so I can't imagine just how many furious customers they were having to deal with. I was very calm and reasonable about it and I got my first month's payment credited as an apology but when I don't have a phone, there's only so much placating you can do, especially when they say things like "all we can say right now is we should be able to complete your order within the next seven days". The word should just covers them every which way, doesn't it?

And then, at 4pm, I got an email telling me my order had been dispatched. So I call them back again to make sure I haven't hallucinated this and to make sure that the email isn't lying and an 11th July delivery is possible after all. Yes, they say, as some people could not wait and went and bought a handset from an Apple store, they have been cancelling the preorders, so yes, my order had indeed been dispatched. But no, they tell me, it won't be delivered until Saturday. The day I am working to cover the day I took off to wait in in the first place. I am too amused at the irony to be cross with them, plus I'm just happy to be getting my phone far earlier than I thought I was going to.

The instore launch was apparently disastrous and you can find any number of web forums shredding O2 for their handling of the launch. According to a friend who tried today, the O2 sale system instore was still down, having crashed at about 8:30am on Friday. Heads will clearly be rolling for that one. Sadly, Apple overstretched themselves as well and the activation system for the iPhone also went into meltdown yesterday which meant those lucky enough to actually get a phone then couldn't do anything with it.

But this story has a happy ending. The phone arrived at 8:30am this morning, right before I left for work. It powered up and activated without any issue whatsoever. And it's just the cutest thing you ever did see. So yeah, I drank the iPhone Kool Aid. It tasted yummy.


Jerby said...

I LOVE my iPhone. Tasty Kool Aid indeed.

Grouchbutt said...

I'm getting mine tomorrow or Tuesday. Can't wait to kiss the Edge network goodbye. Glad to hear you are enjoying yours!

Southern Boy said...

Snce he'll never read this, I'll tell that I'm getting the BF the 16gig one for his birthday in September. I'm kind of hoping to find out if they're going to upgrade the size (size is everything) as I'd like to upgrade, too, but I'd kind of like to have 32gigs before upgrading.

Lottie said...

Mine was cherry flavoured and I waited nearly 4 hours in line in Soho for it. I am officially "that person" who waits 4 hours for a phone. Love it though! :)