Things have settled down now since my trek to the Apple store in the late afternoon yesterday to see if they had any iPhone 3Gs left in stock. They did and I picked up a black 16 GB unit and it’s now properly synced up and charging as we speak. The line wasn’t too bad although it moved a lot slower than the Apple folks said it should when I first got there but I was in line with a video journalist from the local CBS affiliate (hi Keith) and it was quite enjoyable, at least as far as waiting in line goes.
The most interesting part of the entire purchase process was seeing the role that Microsoft played in every single iPhone purchase at the Apple store. You see, Apple doesn’t use cash registers or even Macs for the purchase process. No, they use handheld wireless devices made by Symbol, maker of such things, and every single one of them is running the Windows CE operating system. That’s right, Apple had to turn to Microsoft for a point-of-sale (POS) solution solid enough to work under such volume sales situations. These Symbol devices used barcode scanning to input each iPhone’s serial number and other information, used a credit card scanner to accept customer payment, and tapped a wireless connection to not only the Apple store’s network but to the AT&T network to activate the new service for the customer. They handled the mad crowd with ease and even kept working when the Apple store power flickered once. Talk about ironic.