Yesterday, I bussed it down to Pioneer Square and consulted multiple kiosks to locate the Apple Store. I tend to dislike malls and typically frequent the Apple Store near work, so I was unfamiliar with the territory. The line was not zero-length, but also not terribly long-looking, so I queued up for a new phone. About an hour later (the line was longer than I thought, I guess), when I was really close to the front of the line, someone came out an announced that the black 16G iPhone supply was running short and started handing out vouchers for those that wanted one. Of course, he ran out when he was two people ahead of me. At that point, it was either a white iPhone or admit to a wasted hour and come back at a later date. Fortunately, a girl was there showing off the phones in person, letting you handle and use the phones. The white one looks and feels a lot better than then impressions I got from photos on the website. Additionally, it harkens back to the old-school iMacs, which is retro-cool (with “retro” actually meaning only a few years ago.) Also, the white doesn’t show oily fingerprints.
So I got the white. Between the Pandora client and the AOL Radio application, I expect my batteries will be continually in need of a charge. Yesterday, I signed in to Pandora for the first time in over a year and kicked back in a lawn chair with a book and good tunes. The AOL Radio app actually surprised me a lot. I was expecting a bunch of streaming-web stations that I’d never heard of, but it ends up being entirely web-simulcasts of actual terrestrial radio stations (for better or for worse–they include the talk and advertising.) My only gripe is that while they have a half-dozen Portland stations, they don’t have 94.7 KNRK, the 80s/90s alternative station that Kim listens to a lot (and that I now do, too, due to the nature of sound wave propagation.)
Apple must have Ph.D’s in human behavior working for them in designing their retail process. They do a number of subtle things that make the customer feel good and in control, but are so subtle as to not be immediately noticeable. For instance the Gizmodo article “Official iPhone 3G Sales Procedure Mimes Child Birthing Procedure” is stuff I wouldn’t have noticed, but was glaringly obvious and kind of hokie once I knew what to look for. Still, I could see the psychology behind it as being rather clever. Like a placebo — if you know about it, it probably won’t do anything for you, but if you don’t, then it could be quite positive.
And also, props to the long-hair-scraggily-beard hippie Apple employee who was working crowd control at the line that day. There was a guy in front of me who was not quite bad enough to say that he crossed the threshold of being a jackass — but he was very stubborn, self-important, annoying, and a little irate. Mister Hippy Guy seemed to be very intelligent and well-versed in the inner-workings of phone activation and minutiae of accounts and billing and was also really good at calming this guy down. That, in turn, made my wait in line much more enjoyable.