I watched with anticipation when the iPhone came out two years ago. A few people I knew got one. They even let me hold it now and then. I witnessed the price drop, the backlash, then the giftcard response by Apple. Then last summer I saw the 3G release and friends left and right were buying it. Only $199, right? That’s not cheap, but it’s not unreasonable in the smart phone market. But I still watched from a far. But now I even got to fiddle with an application now and then over the last year.

But then the 3Gs was announced: more features and still low(?) price. Could it get any better? Turns out Pat was somehow eligible for the upgrade even though he was the first in line for the 3G at the Oxford AT&T Store last summer. So though we didn’t make a “released date purchase” last Friday, we scoured the local AT&T stores after the release weekend for an iphone. There were none w/in 75 miles it seemed.

But yesterday The Wife and I went to the Apple Store in Memphis to grab one. [Pat had succumbed to ordering from the Apple.com store and having it shipped to his house.] I’ve always liked going into an Apple Store, but this was my first purchase in one. It was a good experience.

I was worried at first because I was wondering if they would have any in or not. I’d called a few times since they’d opened and it was only a recording saying they were closed. But as I walked up there were lots of others walking up too. And I walk in and the place was crowded. I tell the guy in the orange shirt what I’m here for and he (I’ll call him Mr. Soul Patch) instructed me where to wait after I told him I had checked my eligibility and was good to go.

I only waited about 8 minutes (give or take) until a Specialist in a blue shirt came to assist me (I’ll call him Mr. Weekend Worker). We didn’t go to a desk or to a chair, we just stood in the software aisle as he took my info, put it in a handheld device, checked my stuff, swiped my card, and then said, “Let’s go activate your phone.” Wow, simple procedure.

The first thing that happened after my phone was activated was to receive a text from Pat: “I just canceled my order.” He knew I was at the Apple Store. So I was going to try to get him a phone as well. Turned out it worked after some initial hesitation. So I left the Apple Store with two 16gig 3Gs iphones (one black, one white).

So I’m pumped. So we celebrate by going for a visit to Target (wouldn’t you?) So The Wife looks as things wives look at. I look at the books and electronics. I make a call or two. And decide the phone sounds “muffled“. But maybe it’s just me. So as we leave I hand it to my wife and call it with her phone. She agrees. So….I take it back not knowing how long this will take.

So I walk back into the Apple Store and wait at the front counter where there are orange shirted folks there. I’m not really sure of the color coding, but I figured I’d just wait here first. But a blue shirted girl walks up (I’ll call her Miss Pessimistic/Confusing). I tell her I just bought this like two hours ago and it sounds muffled, so can I swap it? She gets a screwy face and says, “Um, you probably need to make an appointment with a Genius (they’re in the very back. Must be smarter than specialists and orange shirts) and they can determine what to do. She told me we couldn’t do an exchange, but the Genius folks could swap it out.” Wait, huh?

She explained that again, but it still made no sense. So I told her I was from out of town, drove here for the express purpose of buying an iPhone going to Target, but I didn’t have time to make an appointment. So she said to wait on the orange shirt girl next to her. So I finally get to talk to her (I say finally, it’s been 3 minutes). So I tell my new orange shirt friend (I’ll call her Miss Multiple Piercings But In A Cute Way) my issue. She asks for the phone and it’s number. So she dials my number, hands me a desk phone and says, “Talk!” So I say, “Hey, Orange Shirted Friend, it’s hot outside. It’s supposed to be the hottest day of the summer. So swap my phone quickly and we’ll both be happy and then I’ll go sit in my air conditioned minivan. But don’t let it fool you. I’m still a cool guy.”

She acts like she’s still not to sure about it all. Then she says, “The thing is…we’re all out of 16gig Black” I say, okay, I’ll take a white one if I can walk out here with it and get in my cool minivan with my wife and kid.” So she says, “okay”, meet me over by the iMac. So I do, she brings it, we activate it, and I leave happy. But me ending up with a white iphone (and Pat choosing one) makes me laugh because of this.

So, what have I learned in my first 24 hours of iPhone ownership:

  • It eats battery like no tomorrow. My SE phone could hold a charge for over 2 days sometimes.
  • There are more apps than I know what to do with. But it looks like some cool games for me my kids too.
  • It seems there’s an unspoken fraternity of iphone owners.
  • Little kids like iphones too. My girls weren’t with us when we got it, but they immediately thought it was their new toy.
  • I get nervous when my 4yo plays it. But she’s only played “Memory” so far.
  • My 8yo will be a wiz at it soon.
  • My goal is to keep it out of my 1yo’s mouth. He’ll slobber in the speaker and ruin it otherwise. Like he did two previous phones.
  • I have to get a case soon. I’m too nervous about it getting busted. And it might help me be a little more comfortable w/ the kids holding it.
  • The Wife scoffs at it right now, but she’ll be acclimated before long. I have a feeling.

Got any apps to recommend?