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10/15/2011
10:03 AM
Eric Zeman
Eric Zeman
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iPhone 4S: My First Night

I upgraded my iPhone 4 to an iPhone 4S on Friday. Here's my report on the phone--and my least painful iPhone upgrade experience to date.

In 2007, 2008, 2009, and 2010, I lined up, like thousands of others, in the wee hours of the morning to purchase an Apple iPhone. Each year's story is somewhat similar: Get up early, go to Apple store, wait in line for hours, buy phone, go home.

In 2007, the iPhone went on sale at 6PM local time. I was home with the new device by 7:30. I had waited in line for several hours before the Apple store opened. I would say that there were no more than about 50 people clamoring for the device that year on launch day. With the first iPhone, the phone was purchased in the store, and then taken home to be activated via iTunes on your PC. I didn't have any problems activating my first iPhone, but some people did.

In 2008, the iPhone went on sale at 8AM local time. This was the year AT&T had terrible, terrible activation problems. iPhones were being activated in the stores for the first few hours devices were for sale, but eventually, Apple stores gave up and sent people home with unactivated phones. Once I got home--at 1PM--I spent about three more hours trying to activate the phone. Others had it far worse than me, waiting all weekend to get their iPhones activated. That year kind of sucked.

[ What can Apple's new OS do for you? See 9 Apple iOS 5 Features That Matter. ]

In 2009, the process was much improved. I got in line around 6:30AM at my local mall, and, since I didn't really have a good spot in line, I didn't walk out with the iPhone 3GS until about 11:15. I would have waited less had I gotten up earlier, I suppose. Activating was not a problem.

In 2010, Apple allowed people to preorder their iPhones for in-store pickup. They also let people select launch day delivery. I opted for the former. I was in line by 5AM, but I was standing at least 100 people from the front door. For the first several hours, I worried.

Eventually, Apple employees came out and segregated the line into two queues: those who had preordered, and those who hadn't. I was suddenly only about 12 people from the front door. The number of people who hadn't preordered the device was mind-boggling, they easily made up 80% of the people looking to upgrade to the new device. Keep in mind, this was the year that AT&T dropped the mandatory smartphone plans from $30 per month down to $15 and $25 per month. This had a huge impact on the number of people looking to get an iPhone. The fine folks at the Apple store activated my phone before I left. I was home by about 9:45AM.

This year, I decided to do it a little differently. I knew I was returning from a business trip late the night of October 13, with the iPhone 4S going on sale at 8AM the next morning. I knew I'd be tired, and I knew I didn't want to get up early and deal with crowds after being away from home for five days. I preordered the iPhone 4S (black, 32GB) and opted for first-day delivery.

I've worked from home for five years. The UPS driver assigned to my neighborhood is as regular as a German cuckcoo clock. He shows up between 12:30 and 12:45 whenever there is a delivery for me. Only twice has he not arrived within that time frame: when the first iPad went on sale (he arrived at 2:30PM that day) and yesterday, when he showed up at 4:45PM--four hours later than normal.

I asked him if he'd been delivering a lot of the tiny little packages, which he handed to me. He said yes, he'd been delivering them all day. In fact, his normal daily volume of packages was about double, he said, and quipped, "That thing sure is popular today." No doubt.

Of course, by this time, I knew there were problems activating the device, and that the activation servers were having trouble handling the load. Since it was about 5PM, I decided to set the iPhone 4S aside for later (though, of course I opened it up and played with it for a few moments.)

Fast forward to 9PM (eastern), when my kids were in bed and I had some time to devote to the iPhone 4S.

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ANON1247574512923
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ANON1247574512923,
User Rank: Apprentice
10/17/2011 | 9:02:11 PM
re: iPhone 4S: My First Night
Decided to setup the 4S as a new device eh? Good move.. I have a 3GS that I updated to iOS 5 (the day following the release date as I too was one getting the infamous "backup failed" errors on day 1) and even though I backed up my device before upgrading, only a single 3rd party app remained on my phone after the upgrade. As for the rest of them, I'm still in the process of downloading them all again from the App Store and installing them..Not impressed to say the least. How is it that poor RIM takes that heat for an interruption in service, but when Apple releases a defective product (think iPhone 4 antenna issues), or in my case, looses my data through an upgrade it's no big deal (apparently).
pgreen017
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pgreen017,
User Rank: Apprentice
10/17/2011 | 6:13:55 PM
re: iPhone 4S: My First Night
As someone who does not (yet) own an iPhone, I found this article to be helpful. I also found the personal touches to be entertaining -- it gave some life to what would otherwise be a fairly dry, boring story. I appreciate the comparison to the previous generation, because in order to get an iPhone on T-Mobile, I'll have to buy a used one, which pretty much means buying a previous-generation iPhone. Yes, I can buy an unlocked iPhone 4S from Best Buy for $800. Wooof! A used 3GS or 4 is a lot less money, and I can put the saved money aside to upgrade to a 4S when the 5 comes out.
UberGoober
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UberGoober,
User Rank: Strategist
10/17/2011 | 2:30:40 PM
re: iPhone 4S: My First Night
I hope it was good for the Siri, too...

How Eric can be taken seriously on the subject of smartphones when he's such an obvious homer for Apple is completely beyond me. This is only slightly less iBiased than his average article.
Tom LaSusa
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Tom LaSusa,
User Rank: Apprentice
10/17/2011 | 1:40:58 PM
re: iPhone 4S: My First Night
Like "The Loather's" comment. We can't accept that kind of dialogue.

Tom LaSusa
InformationWeek
neejkeir
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neejkeir,
User Rank: Apprentice
10/17/2011 | 8:17:32 AM
re: iPhone 4S: My First Night
Like he said he had to tweak it and tweak it to make it perfect.....so not to get spammed
Notifications just have more options than the NATIVE notification bar from android.

This is touchwiz notification bar on Galaxy s2.
Scrolldown to the end of the article.

http://www.techradar.com/revie...

If you want a less bias opinion about the notification bar
I suggest you look elsewhere.

hpalexander26
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hpalexander26,
User Rank: Apprentice
10/17/2011 | 7:09:59 AM
re: iPhone 4S: My First Night
Hi Eric. Would you be kind enough to tell me why did you opt to set your iPhone 4S as a new device versus restore it from backup? Thanks in advance for your answer.
Tom LaSusa
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Tom LaSusa,
User Rank: Apprentice
10/17/2011 | 3:29:08 AM
re: iPhone 4S: My First Night
Spoon,

The only way comments get removed is:
1. someone uses derogatory terms or words that get flagged by our spam filter
2. they include links that are clearly spam.

Best
Tom LaSusa
InformationWeek
son of hmmmm
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son of hmmmm,
User Rank: Apprentice
10/16/2011 | 10:00:29 PM
re: iPhone 4S: My First Night
This was all very amazing. You're one of the smarter iPhone users - you figured out how to use UPS.
hmmmm.
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hmmmm.,
User Rank: Apprentice
10/16/2011 | 9:33:12 PM
re: iPhone 4S: My First Night
I read 1/2 the first page and got bored, that's sad. It was story of your life.
freshg
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freshg,
User Rank: Apprentice
10/16/2011 | 3:28:00 PM
re: iPhone 4S: My First Night
Can you explain how notifications on iphone are better?? The rest of the article was ok.
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