Even before the iPhone 5 announcement, I was fairly certain I would be replacing my iPhone 3GS with Apple’s new iPhone 5. The announcement and unveiling earlier this week just confirmed it. And as you might expect, I was one of the souls that stayed up late last night, looking to put in a pre-order for the iPhone 5 ahead of its release date. Unfortunately, not everything went as planned.
The iPhone 5 is a phone that I’ve been looking forward to for three years. I passed on the iPhone 4 because I didn’t want to pay the ETF. I passed on the iPhone 4S because it didn’t have 4G LTE. And of course, that left me as the only editor of a technology website in existence using an iPhone 3GS as a daily driver.
I’m telling you this because I don’t want you to underestimate the excitement that was running through on September 12th when Apple announced the new iPhone and today when I could finally put in an order to replace my iPhone 3GS.
As you can tell, I’ve been thinking about this whole iPhone 5 release date slash pre-order thing a lot and over the past few days, more so than ever especially because I’m off-contract and the iPhone 5 is available on three huge carriers.
In any event, here are five of my thoughts about the iPhone 5’s release date and pre-order period which began at midnight last night.
Thank You for the iPhone 5 Release Date
Predictably, and thankfully so, Apple announced all the release details for the iPhone 5 at the iPhone 5’s event. Carriers, pricing, release date, pre-order date. It was all there.
I love it and I honestly wish companies like Nokia, Motorola and Samsung did the same thing at their launch events.
For me, it made buying my next smartphone insanely easy. I knew when I’d order it, I knew ahead of time how much it was going to cost, and I know when I’m going to get it in my hands.
Other companies don’t do this and the sooner they do, the sooner they’ll realize that it’s a big part of Apple’s success.
Why I Chose an AT&T iPhone 5
Prior to the pre-order, I was torn. Did I want to keep my iPhone 5 on AT&T? Or did I want to move to Verizon which has a larger 4G LTE network and better customer service?
I ended up sticking around on AT&T and here’s why.
1. I get to keep my unlimited data plan. I may not use a ton of data but I like the comfort of knowing I still have true unlimited data to play around with. I also couldn’t care less about FaceTime over Cellular. I have a Galaxy Nexus and I think I’ve used the front-facing camera a grand total of two times. Once when I first got it and once testing something for work.
The fact that AT&T’s blocking me from using it over its network doesn’t bother me at all.
2. HSPA+. Apple’s iPhone 5 has support for HSDPA and HSPA+. That means with AT&T, I’ll presumably be able to use HSPA+ when 4G LTE is not available. And when HSPA+ isn’t available, then I’ll have to resort to 3G.
When Verizon 4G LTE isn’t available, it’s 3G or lower. For those that haven’t used HSPA+, it’s faster than 3G. AT&T has a pretty widespread swath of coverage which means that I will not be without fast data speeds for very long.
3. Simultaneous voice and data. On CDMA networks like Verizon’s, I can’t do simultaneous voice and data. That means I can’t access any data while on a phone call. No thanks. With AT&T’s I can, it just isn’t over LTE which is fine. I have HSPA+, remember?
4. AT&T 4G LTE is available in the areas I frequent. If it wasn’t, Verizon’s iPhone 5 would be more tempting. And, I should add, it will be expanding rapidly over the next year or so so even in places where I can’t get it, I’ll likely be able to get it soon.
I also had to make a choice on the amount of storage space I wanted with my iPhone 5. With my iPhone 3GS, I had 16GB of storage, a threshold I routinely approached.
So, to be safe, and considering the size of photos, videos and apps, I decided to give myself some breathing room and opt for the 32GB iPhone 5 variant.
This way I don’t have to worry about deleting stuff if I want to take a video at a concert or I want to snap 200 photos of a sunset.
So here I was, all prepped to buy the 32GB iPhone 5 model. I went out to sushi, came home, and stayed up late chatting with people who were also staying up waiting to pre-order.
Again, I was excited. And then, at the stroke of midnight, armed with plastic, I went into AT&T’s website, ready to give them my hard earned cash. Only, AT&T didn’t want to accept my money last night and neither did Apple.
AT&T’s website apparently was crashing before midnight but I had no clue. I just went in blind and was promptly greeted with errors, maintenance messages, pages that wouldn’t load, and ultimately, a check out page that I could not get past.
So, I tried what everyone else did. I went through Apple’s website and later, its Apple Store app. Both failed me. Apple’s website was up and down for me and when it was up Apple said I needed to contact AT&T about a pre-order.
I did manage to get a reservation but even then, I kept getting error messages.
This first-world problem was driving me nuts so I went to bed. I woke up this morning and it was more of the same from AT&T and Apple. However, after about an hour and a half of reloading, clicking things hundreds of times and filling out information over and over because AT&T’s website kept deleting it, I was able to order a 32GB black iPhone 5.
All the bad memories are behind me but I’ll say this.
After five years, you’d think AT&T would have it together by now.
I Didn’t Even Think About Braving the Lines
Apparently, I was able to sneak in just before the device’s shipping dates moved to 2-3 weeks. I’ll be getting it on release day. However, I would have been fine waiting for 2-3 weeks for my order and not going down to a retail store.
The lines. The quickly depleted stock. The confusion among employees. The lack of concrete information. All of those take place at retail stores on iPhone release day and there was just no way I was going to subject myself to that.
I truly don’t envy all of you that go down there bright and early and hope for an iPhone but I respect you.
In any event, those are my thoughts about the iPhone 5, its release date and the pre-order. I’ll be back with more when I get my hands on the device itself.
How did your iPhone 5 pre-order go?