Blog: A diary of a tech journo that didn’t get an iPhone 4 on launch day

Jonathan Morris
June 24, 2010

Today I did not buy an iPhone 4.Wednesday, June 23rd

20.05 Having finished celebrations following England’s win, heading off home with a quick passing by of the Apple store on Regent Street. Wow, a large queue has already formed. Are people really that desperate? It’s just a phone. I recognise some as members of the blogging community. Snigger to myself that most of the people in the queue are only there to report on the huge demand made up of themselves.

20:25 On train home. Send a Tweet to point out that I’m not queueing for an iPhone. Expect a few people to reply or re-tweet, but get nothing. People don’t really care about me making a stand against Apple. Some are probably tucked up in bed ready to leave home at 6am to join that very queue.

Thursday, June 24th

07:00 Heat in bedroom ensures an early wake-up. After shower, check Twitter and see it filled up with comments related to the iPhone launch day. Plenty of photos from various stores to show the level of demand. Being in the queue isn’t enough; you obviously need everyone to know about it.

08:45 On way in to work. Have strange desire to call by Regent Street and take some photos for the website. Figure everyone will be doing it, and I don’t really care anyway. Our review is already being done by a freelancer, so I don’t even need one. No need to join the media circus that surrounds every Apple launch just to mock those mugs who didn’t pre-order and go along later to collect.

09:45 Arrive in office, late, thanks to a cancelled train. Maybe the driver was out getting an iPhone 4. Make joke about having queued up for an iPhone, but everyone else is working on other news. Apparently other things are happening today too. Who would have thought it?

10:00 Decide not to fill website with loads of iPhone related stories. Yes, a bunch of features with good SEO will bring more traffic to the site, but what can I say that hasn’t been said by a billion bloggers. Sorry, billion is somewhat of a stupid exaggeration. I meant million.

10:15 Put up Three’s iPhone pricing on website. There, that will get some iPhone-related web traffic and keep the ad manager happy. I am definitely not putting up pictures or interviews with the first person to get his iPhone (pretty sure it will be a male) though. Save that for the BBC and Sky News.

10:30 Start to read on our forum about possible problems with the iPhone. Antenna problems which were theorised when Steve first announced the clever design might be real after all. Read a comment that Steve can’t change the laws of physics. Begin to wonder if that is really true, given how he can change anything. He can reinvent video calling, multitasking, cameraphones and high definition display technology, so I am fairly confident he can change the way radio works if he wants.

Feel vindicated for taking decision not to get caught up with the hype of launch day.

11:00 Chat to director about the problems I’ve been hearing about, and we both start into a mini anti-Apple rant about media manipulation and stage managed launches, and how Apple can sell something that’s anything but revolutionary for silly money. Neither of us see the irony of both owning an iPhone 3GS, while doing all our work on a Mac.

We laugh about how these sheep will pay anything to get an iPhone 4, mentioning some of the crazy pricing that sees a cost of ownership of almost £2,000 on some tariffs. Boss confirms he really can’t see any need for an iPhone 4. The 3GS is just fine.

12:00 Follow more people on Twitter reporting they’ve now got their new iPhone. Start to feel a little intrigued to see what people are saying, hoping to hear more about the problems. Web is still full of positive stories, including some incredibly gushing reviews from respected journos that are usually far more cynical. And Stephen Fry. Is it really the most advanced bit of technology ever?

Is there absolutely nothing else out there that can run multiple apps at once, take good pictures, maybe HD video, with a nice screen and decent battery life?

13:00 Asked by a national newspaper to comment on the report of antenna problems. Here we go. Not only am I not getting an iPhone, but here’s my chance to gloat and say ‘Told you so’ via the national press. Seems the story is gaining traction and I’m part of it. It’s so nice to be proven right.

14:00 Forum filling up with more reports of problems, jokes about needing to wear marigolds to use the phone and a video that shows the iPhone 4 failing a drop test spectacularly. Feeling very smug.

15:00 Get an email from Google to say that over 150,000 Android phones are activated every single day, and list how many Android phones are now on the market. It won’t take long to overtake the iPhone at that rate. There are nearly 70,000 apps too, while Android 2.2 is now being actively rolled out for all manufacturers to put on their phone. How odd that this was sent out on the day the iPhone 4 was released. Haha!

16:00 Day is almost over. Everyone now has their iPhone that is going to get one, or has given up and will try again tomorrow. People on forums that didn’t get one are starting to think they might have been the lucky ones. The Guardian has now spoken about the antenna issue, alongside the glowing review from Stephen Fry. Now that is surely going to cause some problems in due course.

17:30 Time to go home. Still have a strange desire to pass by the Apple Store and see how it all panned out. Decide against it and get on train with Evening Standard, to read another gushing review about how amazing the iPhone 4 is. It is, again, regarded as the best thing ever made. These reviews read like advertisements. It’s as near to perfection as the last one, apparently, even though this is loads better. The iPhone 4 is like washing powder. That old washing powder you’ve got, you know, the one we said was awesome? We lied. Now you need the new and improved super iPhone.

19:30 Go out for the evening meal with wife and talk about the day. Talk about how crazy people were for wasting half a day or more to queue up for a new phone. I find out that she really wants one too and get asked what is the easiest way to get hooked up this weekend. She can’t understand why I’ve talked about nothing else today, given that I supposedly didn’t care less.

Suddenly I realise. I have been totally obsessed with the new phone. I’ve been under the same spell as everyone else. I’ve now missed out on a major event that I feel I should have been part of. I work in tech and even though I can pick and choose what I cover, there’s not really a choice when it comes to an Apple launch. I simply cannot choose to skip these things, any more than refusing to work late to write up a keynote speech from Steve Jobs, when any other event would be done in the morning.

I am not part of a special group busy playing with their new toy while I write up my diary. The forums, blogs and Twitter are full of people who are now getting to try out FaceTime, ironically of course, but I can never be part of that. By the time I get one, FaceTime will already be forgotten about.

23:50 As I sign off for the day, I now feel a little bit relieved that my wife will get one and I’ll be able to have a play. No matter how much I try and convince myself that I don’t want, or need, an iPhone 4 – I just know that I’m going to end up getting one in the end.

Damn you Apple. What time do you open tomorrow?

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