Gotta Get An iPhone: The PopSci Saga

Unless your name is Pogue or Mossberg, you apparently have to wait in line like everyone else

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As the iPhone launch day fiasco unfolds, we thought we’d take a moment to share our own tale of getting our hands on a phone. As the world’s largest consumer electronics magazine, you’d think we’d be able to get a review unit from Apple, yes? Well, no. Herr Jobs decided to seed just a handful of iPhones into the hands of high-profile journalists at daily newspapers including the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and_ USA Today_.

We contacted Apple back in April to try to secure an iPhone for review, but got no response. So senior editor Mike Haney sent this email on June 11:

Hi Mike, I hope my email finds you well and enjoying your day.
Thanks for your interest in iPhone.

I am forwarding your request to my colleague [name withheld] for her
records. She’ll capture your request, and will get back to you if
we’re able to accommodate. We don’t know the availability of loaners
at this time. Please feel free to follow up with her directly. She
can be reached at [number] and or [email].

You may find pictures and information about the products on the Apple
Press Info website located at We appreciate
your interest in the product.

We never heard back from [name withheld], so we placed a few more frantic phone calls. No answer. So, our alternative strategy? Dispatch far-flung staff members to tiny stores in the boonies.

Associate Web editor John Mahoney—who is on vacation visiting family in Indiana—is currently in line at an AT&T store near Indianapolis.

Marketing director Pete Michalsky is reclining in a folding chair outside a strip mall in Connecticut. He sent this dispatch:

On 6/29/07 4:05 PM, pete.michalsky wrote:

Staff photographer John Carnett is at an AT&T store in Philadelphia (notice a pattern here? PopSci officially feels that anyone waiting outside an Apple store at this moment is a total schmuck). He sent this report:

I went to a brand new AT&T store in Philadelphia at 12 Noon today—It was very remote so I figured I’d have no trouble getting one. I pulled in the lot and I see three very sort of rough-looking guys on a blanket. I see a topless bar across the street and then it all becomes very clear—they tell me they got the idea at 1 AM… They were not APPLE fans, they just figured they would sell them to someone, or sell the slot in line. Then I talked to this guy in a white van who started screaming about the fact that he has three months to go on his contract. I expect to have an iPhone and a cold beer by 8 pm. Wish me luck!

So, there you have it. Three men, 9 hours or so of paid salary time between them… three semi-functional but widely-coveted gadgets to show for the effort. The question remains: what should we do with the iPhones once we get ’em? Tell us in the comments. —Megan Miller

Image: TheQ!