Blog Pile

Pfffffft on You Steve Jobs, AT&T, and the 3G iPhone You Rode in On

Stand back, set the blog phasers on snark!

Before the rant starts (and if you cannot tell from the graphic above it might be juicy) for those that miss my not so subtle reference, do you remember all those times on Star Trek when they said, “Set your phasers on stun”? Did you ever notice, that they never set it on “annihilate”, “zap”, or maybe even just “tickle”? Phasers had pretty much one setting, which begs the question whey they had settings at all (besides the need for said script line). C’mon, my kitchen blender has more settings than a phaser!

My day started on such a roll! I drove down to Phoenix this morning for a dentist appointment, and I had no cavities despite being a year late for my six month checkup. An errand for some legal documents did not provide the hassles I expected. I picked up my old MacBookPro with the busted shift key and worn keys — I had forgotten to get AppleCare on it, but the repair cost only half the amount that plan would have caught. I then went to my yearly checkup at a retinal specialist- last time I spent more than 90 minutes in the waiting room for a 5 minute doctor visit, and this time I was in and out in 20 minutes.

On a roll!

So I was primed to drop in at the Apple Store at Chandler Mall and get me a new shiny 2G iPhone.

And the lucky sheen evaporated like water on the Arizona sidewalk. The store was mobbed, and I hovered around the phones expecting the usual quick response from the staff at Apple Stores. Nothing. I then heard an Apple guy say to someone else about a “line” and “just ran out”.

Here I thought a few weeks after the launch they would be no problem to come by. I tried calling the Apple Store at the Biltimore; first no one answered, then it was busy. I can guess what the calls were for. I looked up the number for the new store at San Tan Mall- their recording suggested checking an Apple site that would provide availability. That seems cool- I would know if there were phones w/o calling or driving.

Except the site says I can pick a state and city, but there is no menu, and it says I need to check after 9PM. WTF use is that? I’m not gonna even be in town at 9PM.

Hmm, so the Apple Stores were a wash. I next thought I might be able to snag one at at AT&T stores which seem to be second in frequency only to Starbucks. There was one just down the street! I walked in the store and said I likely had a popular question and pointed to the big iPhone sign. He shook his head before I even finished and said they were all out, but they could take direct orders and have it set up and shipped directly to me (“10-12 business days”). Since I drove 100+ miles to get here, that was starting to sound reasonable.

I then thought to ask about the signal strength in Strawberry where I live as I know their cell signals are weak here. I keyboarded a while with no reaction and then said, “We have no service there.”

“Well that makes this purchase decision easy. Goodbye.”

So not only cannot I buy an iPhone, even if I did I could not use it at home.

The luster has completely worn off the excitement.

What a luxury business Apple is in that it can pretty much shoo away people willing to spend hundreds for their devices and still rake it in. I have no conspiracy inkling of artificial shortages but the lack of products in stores weeks after a launch in these days of high fuel costs seems a bit smelly if people end up driving from store to store in vain. Walmart has this inventory fulfillment perfected- they never run out of toilet paper there, do they? Pffffft on Apple.

And their lock in to AT&T as a sole provider is appalling or worse. AT&T does these full page color ads in the Phoenix papers boasting how they have expanded their network in Arizona, with those bars superimposed on Monument Valley, yet here I am in a location where other providers (Alltel, Sprint, Verizon) all have strong signals and AT&T has tin cans hung on a tree branch. Pfffft on them. Wish they would spend advertising money on improving their infrastructure. Maybe I need to move to Mexican Hat where I could at least have a sight line to the AT&T Monument Valley bars.

I don’t really need an iPhone, though I was anxious to try all the shiny cool apps and start to use it for business travel rather than lugging a laptop, but am starting to think of looking at whats going to come around the bend, and maybe hang some hopes on Android.

I love my Mac, my iPod Touch, and see no chance of that changing. But this is really under my skin, and while it may be fun to have the cool device, I may just skip it out of stupid principle, until (a) it is less of a hassle to even plunk down my 300 clams to get one, and (b) when they break the lock of the AT&T pirate ship and allow my to use a provider that actually provides service.

Yeah, right, like I expect anyone to take up my gripes.

So I am setting my snark phaser on “disintegrate into tiny shreds”. Keep your distance, I am aiming– Pffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffttttttttttttttttt

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An early 90s builder of the web and blogging Alan Levine barks at on web storytelling (#ds106 #4life), photography, bending WordPress, and serendipity in the infinite internet river. He thinks it's weird to write about himself in the third person.


  1. Why don’t you try a jail broken iPhone on Tmobile? Do they have service up there. @clintus on Twitter has one and says he has no problems what so ever. Plus I hear rumor that Tmobile and Altell might merge. You won’t even have to move providers.

  2. it’s not so much shooing people away out of elite snobbery – they do need to actually MAKE the phones. and they haven’t made enough of them. not sure I’d blame Czar Jobs on the lack of 3G coverage in Strawberry either… a 3G Android device would lack coverage from your home as well.

  3. @Coop- I’d have to be able to *buy* one to jail break it 😉 Its a thought. Alltel just merged with Verizon, they are swallowing TMobile too? Can they save room to take in AT&T,

    @D’Arcy- Make more. Yeah, I was having fun spraying everyone, but its AT&T I aim the phasers at. I dont even need 3G coverage here; at home I’d use wireless, but AT&T does not even have enough signal for make *phone calls* when other providers have strong signals. That is s****. And an iPhone w/oa phone is…. the iPod Touch I already own.

  4. Yeah, I’ve done that. But I want the iPhone for my travel- the iTouch is great but anything on the net is dependent on getting wireless access.

    Let me be clear- I want the iPhone. I’m just cranky.

  5. I’ll gladly take up snark phaser arms with you! I have been boasting and priming my husband up for our iPhone purchase since the announcement – not nearly the mac fan I am, it took some work. To my delight on Tuesday he dug in and did some research and decided today would be the day we would get iPhones! We started at the Biltmore Apple Store and you know what happened from there. I tactfully fought the “switch carrier for the iphone” battle for months to finally win and Apple’s arrogance ruined it! Like you my hubby will hold off now on principle and in the world of mobile carriers where one spouse goes the other must follow. Curse you Apple!

  6. Count me among the cranky ones. I want an iPhone without AT&T. I even WON an iPhone at a conference last week. Lucky me. Without AT&T signal, it’s not really an iPhone, is it? At least I can spend my gift card on other cool stuff at the Apple store. Still, I long for the day I can get an iPhone without AT&T.

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