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After the Line Blog

Well, I'm back home after five hours in line at the Apple Store, less $389.98 (I bought AppleCare and a 16GB iPhone 3G). What do I have to show for it?

As of 1:00 PM MDT, everything is suddenly working. I have an iPhone 3G, although I've now discovered that I don't have 3G service at my home despite the AT&T coverage map showing that I do. My old iPhone is no longer sending or receiving phone calls, but at least I can use it as an iPod touch over Wi-Fi.

Read after the break for a recap of my morning:
5:30 AM MDT - Alarm goes off. Run to the shower. Grab breakfast. Make one quick cup of coffee.

6:25 AM MDT - I arrive at the Aspen Grove Lifestyle Center in Littleton, CO. The line, which consisted of one person at 8 PM last night, is now around the side of the building where the Apple Store is. Rent-a-cop says there are about 120 people in line at that point.

8:00 AM MDT - The doors open! We move forward, then stand in line for about another hour outside. Apple employees come up with water, Starbucks employees provide us with coffee and frosty goodness of some sort. Time for a bio-break at Starbucks.

9:00 AM MDT - In the store! The Apple folks conveniently line us up so that you have to walk by all of the iPhone cases and accessories. Many people are buying cases.

9:20 AM MDT - Line moves up again. Is everything working? Could it be?!

9:21 AM MDT to 11:20 AM MDT - Nope. I'm in line, slowly moving forward. One of the wonderful employees at the Aspen Grove Apple Store asks if I want a chair. Since my 50 year-old body is getting tired of standing, I accept. I am now rolling around the store in somebody's beat up back office chair. Sweeet! I spend my time in line pointing all of the web browsers to TUAW.

11:20 AM MDT - I am escorted back to an open area by a happy, courteous Apple employee. He takes my driver's license, enters info into little Symbol Palm-based POS device, asks for my old iPhone number. I have no choice on the plan -- I have to continue with existing 600 minutes per month. I'm asked if I want text messaging, I take the 200 message plan. I get to sign my name on the AT&T and Apple Terms and Conditions, then we do the credit card dance.

11:30 AM MDT - I now have a bag with an iPhone 3G in it and my receipt. Now it's up to the front of the store for the unboxing. Another happy, smiling (no, really!!) Apple Store employee slits the plastic on the box open, then lets me take it out of the box. I hand it to him, he connects it to a Mac and does...something. I ask if this is the activation, I'm told it is "part of the activation process". I'll have to continue it at home. This takes about 2 minutes.

11:32 AM MDT - Back in my car. I go to call my wife to let her know that everything is done, I'm heading home. Notice that the phone has no service, so obviously it has been deactivated.

11:45 AM MDT - Home. As per instructions, I plug in the iPhone and iTunes 7.7 fires up. I get the infamous -4 error. About two minutes later the iPhone lights up and I see EDGE is activated. WTF?

11:47 AM MDT - I think I have a working iPhone 3G. I actually don't -- they're just allowing me the luxury of making a 911 call if I need to. I redact my Live Blog statement about having a working phone.

12:45 PM MDT - I've tried about 10 times, but no love with the iPhone 3G activation. I'm glad my wife has a working iPhone since I don't.

1:00 PM MDT - w00t! I just went through the activation process. See the gallery below for screen shots. Unfortunately, I don't have 3G service at my home. Damn you, AT&T! You show that I am on the edge of a service area...

I was totally impressed with the Aspen Grove staff -- these people ROCK! However, the process of activation needs to be improved for Day One situations like this. This happened last year, too!

More news and video later!

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