I’ve been on the fence quite awhile about the iPhone. It’s not cheap, it’s grossly over-hyped by a very fanatic fan base who seem to overlook it’s flaws, and while I’m not a terribly flashy person, there seems to be a stigma about those who own one. Those things aside, I finally decided that I’ve pretty much bought into the Mac platform and OS X workflow, and it only makes sense to extend that by replacing my Samsung Blackjack with an iPhone. The addition of 3G network support, ActiveSync, and GPS pretty much sealed the deal for me, though the price still makes me reel a bit. One of the advantages I saw with owning one is that I would most likely not need to take my laptop with me any longer on non-business trips, which is a pretty big win for me.
If you weren’t willing to camp-out for the new iPhone 3G and want one ASAP, it’s likely you’re in a similar position as me– calling local Apple Stores and AT&T stores everyday to check to see if any have came in. It sounds like at many Apple Store locations, as soon as a shipment comes in, a big line forms and if you’re lucky you might be able to get one. The way that Apple and AT&T have handled this situation is truly awful and unprofessional– none of the people working the floor know when shipments are coming-in, nor is there a way to order an iPhone online, etc.
One option I ended-up opting for was ordering a new iPhone 3G at my local AT&T store through their “direct fulfillment” program. Basically this boils down to you having a direct order from Apple which will eventually arrive at your local AT&T Store, and you don’t get charged for it until it ships. You get a tracking number and a way to check the status, though so far the results don’t look terribly promising. When I ordered mine the wait time before shipment told to me was 5-10 business days, and lately from what I’ve read the current quotes are now at 10-20 business days.
I honestly don’t know how this is going to end-up considering the HUGE thread about this program happening at the AT&T Forums at the moment, but it is keeping me from being obsessed about trying to snag a phone at the retail locations.
One other tip, if you do opt to go this route, you can use this site to get an idea about when your order will arrive based on other orders at the same store. All that you do is enter order ID’s close to the last 5 digits of your Order ID and the zip code of store you ordered from, and browse through the orders at your store to see if other people at your AT&T store have got their orders. It’s kind of hard to describe unless you’ve went through the order process itself, but you can find out more in in this thread.