So I ventured out to an Apple Store yesterday hoping that since the iPhone 3G was a couple days old that I could easily grab one. No, not for me. For the girlfriend and my sister. I could have gone to the AT&T store only a few blocks away but whenever Apple releases a new product I prefer the full Apple experience at an Apple Store (Brea, CA); it's just more complete that way. Expecting to get some hands on time with the iPhone 3G and pick up the Macbook Air again, I was pretty excited to get to the store.
As I cheerily walked through the mall eagerly anticipating the iPhone 3G, I stopped dead in my tracks. There was at least a 100-person line that stretched multiple storefronts! The Apple Store Employee 'in-charge' estimated the line to be a 5-hour wait! This was a Monday afternoon, didn't people have work to do?
But it gets better (read: worse).
Read on for the rest of this very weird Apple Store Experience!
The iPhone 3G line wasn't the only line! There was a 'Mac-line' for people who weren't interested in the iPhone 3G but wanted to buy a Mac, play Frisbee with the Macbook Air, get free WiFi, or just do whatever you do at the Apple store. That line was at least a 30 minute wait—to just get into the store! This Apple Store was making potential customers willing to spend thousands of dollars on the iPhone 3G wait outside. Two different lines to get into an Apple store—just crazy!
Adding to the ridiculousness of it all, an Apple Store employee served as a 'bouncer' complete with a 'guest list' that presumably had genius bar appointments on it. I felt like I was in Hollywood trying to get into an exclusive club, not buy a computer at a computer store.
How is it good business making people wait to buy a Mac because of the iPhone 3G? Won't it cannibalize sales of their other product lines if Mac customers have a difficult buying process? A few people in the Mac-line were already getting quite antsy and angry at having to wait. The Store employee gave me the excuse that the lines served as a safety precaution but the Apple Store looked pretty empty. I mean Apple Stores are almost always crowded, where are the safety measures then?
I understand a line for iPhone 3G customers, as insane as a 5 hour wait is, if you want to buy an iPhone 3G you have to wait your turn, that makes sense. But having a Mac line just to get into the store? That's a little too exclusive, even for Apple. I can't imagine how I would feel if I was ready to buy a Mac but had to wait outside the store because of the iPhone 3G. Just let me in the store! At least I'd be able to play with my future purchase.
What do you think? Is the iPhone 3G bad for the rest of Apple's products? Is this Apple's way to Store different? Can Apple focus enough energy on all their products? Is two lines ridiculous or what?
Photo Note: The line on the left side is the 'Mac Line' and the line on the right that stretches all the way down is the iPhone 3G line. Picture taken with iPhone.