iPhone Launch Live Blog: Events as they happen


iphone-uk-liveblog.jpgTech Digest’s liveblog of iPhone launch day, with news, analysis and live on-the-spot reportage from New York’s Apple Store.

We’re in the UK, so all times are GMT. Email us your tips, thoughts or ramblings at [email protected]

12.27am: Sorry, I’m having to switch to another post – this one is so long now, it’s making my blogging platform fall over. Click here for events from 12.30am onwards.

man-with-iphone.jpg12.17am. This man has an iPhone (pictured). Is that a gang signal, or just a shadow-puppet kangaroo?

12.13am: By the way, I’m not the only Tech Digest writer liveblogging the iPhone launch tonight. Ashley has just done a live update on the scene outside the London Apple Store…

12.09am: Sorry for the long pause. My Mac Mini wheezed to a halt and required a reboot. But in my absence, news from Susi at the NYC Apple Store: “Apple staff clapped and cheered as queue people went in. This quickly got tiring but they persisted. There were a lot of people randomly turning up and watching. Possibly more than the number of people in the queue. Queue people were media fatigued and didn’t want to talk when they left.”

11.52pm: Oh, Engadget has an unboxing too. What is it with unboxings anyway? They’re not that big here in the UK (mainly because we never get stuff first, of course…) More interestingly, apparently BMW has announced that it’s right behind iPhone, and people with its BMW Assist technology in their cars will be able to make hands-free calls and stream their iPhone music.

11.42pm: Five fast iPhone impressions from Your Mac Life’s Shawn King. The screen’s ace, videos look lovely, EDGE is disappointingly slow, you can’t wirelessly synch iPhone with your Mac, and the camera function is very limited.

11.39pm: Looks like Gizmodo beat Wired to the punch – I’m watching their live iPhone unboxing now. There’s no sound, mind, so I have no idea what they’re saying. Ooh, they’ve just turned it on.

11.34pm: It’s battle of the unboxers! Both Gizmodo and Wired Blogs are promising iPhone unboxings imminently. Which will be first? I’ve just unboxed some Sainsbury’s organic cider, but I won’t bore you with photos. Meanwhile, Engadget has an exclusive video interview with Apple founder Steve Wozniak, who as I said earlier, was first in line at an Apple Store.

11.28pm: Apparently the Apple online store is now closed until 6pm West Coast time. The UK one’s open though – if any of you Americans need to order a copy of iWork ’06, just let me know.

11.24pm: Times Online has an article referring to the iPhone as ‘aka the God Machine’. Are people really calling it that? By the way, I’m scouting for first quotes from iPhone buyers…

11.21pm: Quick tip if you’re on your way home with an iPhone now. Apparently playing non-DRM files (i.e. ones ripped off your CDs) uses up 8% less battery life than DRM files (i.e. ones bought from iTunes, unless they’re the new iTunes Plus ones).

11.16pm: TUAW has a liveblog from the NY Apple Store, sounds like the media are descending on anyone who emerges from the shop clutching a bag. I’m willing someone to come out and say ‘Oh no, I just came in for a copy of Photoshop, what’s this about a mobile phone?’

11.13pm: 13 minutes since iPhones went on sale in Eastern parts of the US. Gizmodo is promising a live unboxing any minute now. I wish we had time zones in the UK – imagine if for big technology launches, everyone had to go to Great Yarmouth to get the early scoop.

11.09pm: Lots of people are Twittering about the iPhone, including some people waiting in line.

11.03pm: Buy an iPhone first, THEN you can browse the accessories. That’s the message coming from Apple Store staff in Miami, apparently. Because most of the queuers were planning to pootle round the Bluetooth headset section before parting with their cash, presumably.

10.58pm Looking forward to a ‘Smash My iPhone’ video on the internetweb? It looks like it might not happen. The guys at SmashSomeStuff, who make a habit of queuing up to buy rare-as-hen’s-teeth new gadgets and then smashing them up, have only raised $117.30 out of their target of $499 to buy an iPhone. (via Seen and Not Seen)

10.55pm: Hmm, worrying rumours that the weight of new iPhone owners trying to activate their handsets could thoroughly feck the iTunes servers. 10 Zen Monkeys says it’s heard from an Apple Store employee that they’ve been told to expect disgruntled customers coming back in when they can’t connect to iTunes (and thus use their phone). “We’ve been told to be courteous, polite, and even apologetic. And then suggest that they go home and try again in a little while.”

iphone-cake.jpg10.50pm: Someone’s baked an iPhone cake! Marvellous. (via Boing Boing)

10.46pm: iPhoneFreak has a 20-point iPhone Survival Kit with the key things you need to know in your first few days of owning an iPhone. Surprisingly, no mention of ‘this is how you list an item on eBay’…

10.34pm: Utahns love the iPhone! Cultural changes in Mormon beliefs and practices mean I can’t make an ignorant ‘you can only buy a spare handset for one of your wives’ joke any more!

10.31pm: iPhone queues are costing the US 12.77 person-years in productivity, apparently. Like those people wouldn’t all be at work messing about on Facebook if they weren’t waiting for an iPhone…

10.28pm: Wonkette: “Nobody really gives a fuck about the iPhone in Washington.”

10.25pm: Here’s something that’s been bothering me: what the hell is an “activation charge?” Americans have to pay a $36 activation charge to get their iPhones working – is this normal over there? I can’t imagine it going down too well here (then again, our operators probably squeeze twice that out of us in roaming charges).

10.22pm: Susi Weaser has now left the hotel lobby en-route to the NYC Apple Store. Expect live hard-hitting Martini-fuelled reportage within the hour.

10.17pm: One of the big things about the US iPhone launch has been that you couldn’t pre-order one: you have to wait in line today and cross your fingers. Yet Engadget is reporting that one AT&T Wireless shop in Little Rock, Arkansas has been telling people in the queue that they’ve already “sold out” of iPhones. Swizz!

10.13pm: Steve Jobs has been spotted eating sushi in Menlo Park, so he’s NOT in New York for the launch there. Unless that was yet another fake Steve Jobs, obviously. Maybe there’s thousands of them around the US, to put people off the scent.

10.10pm: PopSci has a post about how hard they found it to get an iPhone to review, and how they’ve had to send three members of staff out to wait in line to buy one. No sympathy from me – AT LEAST YOU CAN BUY AN IPHONE! sob

10.06pm: Microsoft is handing out free bottles of water in an Apple Store queue with an advert on. Cheeky.

pamphlet.jpg10.03pm: Staff at one AT&T Store are handing out pamphlets with the terms & conditions stuff on, as well as the price plans. Right now, 76 people are mentally calculating how much $60 a month for 24 months adds up to, and sweating.

9.58pm: eBayWatch: someone standing in line outside the Vestal, NY store is offering to get an iPhone to you by Monday for $1,495. I bet there’s takers for that by the end of tonight. (via Gadget Lab)

9.54pm: Rumours that AT&T Wireless has boosted its EDGE network to provide average speeds of 200 kilobits per second, rather than its usual 100kbps. Unsurprisingly, Verizon has chosen today to remind everyone that its own high-speed data service is capable of between 600kbps and 1.4 megabits per second.

9.49pm: Ridiculous Apple rumour of the day (No. 1 of… many): Apple is paying people to stand in line, to fuel the media hype. I’d believe it of PS3, but not the iPhone. Talking of paying people though, I wonder if there’ll be any special stuff for the first 50 people in each line? Like not charging them, for example, or a free Bluetooth headset. Or 10 free iTunes downloads, more likely.

9.47pm: More from our own Susi Weaser in New York. Apparently her Martini is “nice”. See, if they’d sent me over there instead, I’d at least be reporting back on whether it had an umbrella in it.

9.41pm More on Philadelphia mayor John F. Street, who was spotted waiting in line for an iPhone today. Apparently he skulked off when asked by a fellow queuer (is that a word?): “How can you sit here with 200 murders in the city already?” Oof.

9.38pm No news so far of any celebrities queuing for an iPhone (no, Woz doesn’t count). They probably get free ones couriered over, right? Maybe not. Check this quote from Cher’s publicist in the LA Times: “I haven’t been successful in getting one for her. Doesn’t winning Oscars, Grammys and Emmys entitle her to move to the front of the line?” My heart bleeds for her. Really it does. (via Buzzgrinder)

9.32pm: Oh, he’s not. But Gizmodo is livecasting from an Apple Store line on his site. There’s lots of woo’ing at the moment.

9.31pm: I’m going to fire up Justin.tv and see if he’s doing anything iPhone-related. If my Mac Mini starts fizzing, I’ll have to reboot…

9.28pm: There are ten iPhone books coming out to cash in on the iPhone launch, apparently. Eleven if I can sell this liveblog transcript to someone in the next few days. Anyway, ZDNet’s Russell Shaw has a roundup of the upcoming titles.

fakestevejobs-crowd.jpg9.20pm: A group of fake Steve Jobs have just tried to get into the now-closed NYC Apple Store, claiming that they just wanted to check the iPhone stock was okay. I’m Steve Jobs, and so is my wife.

9.15pm: eBayWatch: you can buy ten iPhones for $125,500. Although obviously they’re not Apple iPhones, but some “historical prototype” devices from Israel and Taiwan. Meanwhile, the ticklemeiphone.com domain name is going for $50,000. I’m actually tempted by that.

9.10pm: For those of us kicking our heels on an iPhone-less continent far, far away, Sci Fi Tech has an iPhone Quiz. It’s not helping.

thief-iphone.jpg9.04pm: Cor, someone tried to nick an iPhone out of a reporter’s hand ON LIVE TV. But was promptly nicked by the rozzers, thankfully.

8.59pm: First dispatch from Shiny Media’s roving reporter Susi Weaser, who is in New York… boozing in her hotel? No, really. “I’m drinking a Martini in the hotel lobby,” she says. “It’s prep for battle.” Four more, and she’ll be brave enough to march down the queue and try to push in.

8.56pm: Memo title of the week, it’s from the COO of Verizon Wireless (who didn’t get the iPhone) to staff: “iWhatever”. You’re not convincing anyone. (via TUAW)

iphonebeggar.jpg8.53pm: Someone’s waiting in line (scroll down) at the Apple Store NYC with a cardboard tray, asking for donations so they can buy an iPhone. Cheeky.

8.48pm: Gartner’s saying iPhone isn’t well suited to being an enterprise device. Which is funny, considering it’s, er, not an enterprise device. I wish someone would pay me a big fat salary for that kind of market insight.

8.45pm: Susi’s at the NY Apple Store, and has been compiling some Instant Stats from the queueing throng. 75% are putting their spare iPhone straight on eBay, apparently.

8.41pm: Not queuing yet but want an iPhone today? Get to an AT&T Wireless shop – apparently they’re nowhere near as busy. Although you won’t get to be interviewed and put on telly.

8.39pm: Forbes has a big story about the companies who are waiting in line for an iPhone so they can take it back to their research labs and tear it apart to find out how it works (then add a 3G chip and flog it in China, presumably). Interesting stuff. (via Epicenter)

8.34pm: Karl Woods works for the very fine mobile games firm Kiloo. More importantly, he is on my Skype contacts list and available for an EXCLUSIVE vox-pop. “iPhone is going to be another smartphone,” he says. “Just not as big.” See, not everyone is breathless with hype.

8.31pm: If it’s true that adult entertainment drives all new technology, the iPhone should be a success. Playboy has released a 76MB pack of iPlayboy content for the iPhone. Cue thousands of men buying it “for the interviews”.

8.28pm: Apple shares have risen 2.3% so far this morning, in anticipation of the iPhone launch. Make that TWO luxury yachts, Steve.

8.26pm: Quote of the day, from a Hollywood studio exec interviewed by Variety: “I’ll make my booty calls with the iPhone and get reamed in the ass by my boss on my Blackberry…” (via Vulture)

8.23pm: HELL YEAH. Gizmodo is refusing to give its special iPhone launch day t-shirts to anyone waiting in line who intends to sell their handset on. Amen to that. Can you save one for me instead?

8.19pm: The first two guys in line at the San Francisco Apple Store are both planning to make a fat profit by selling their iPhones on. Presumably to the first two people in line AFTER the shop runs out of stock.

8.14pm: Actually, if I was Steve Jobs, I’d be 57th in line in the queue at a random Apple Store right now, with a false moustache and hat disguise. Just for the fun of it. Although, actually, if I really was was Steve Jobs, I’d probably be at home now placing an order on a luxury yacht that would make Roman Abramovich’s look like a dinghy.

wozniak-queues-for-iphone.jpg8.13pm: Crumbs. Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak is first in line in the iPhone queue in San Joses’s Valley Fair Apple Store. Apparently Steve Jobs offered him a free one, but he wants more for his kids. Aw…

8.10pm: In the US, Apple Stores are offering iPhone owners two workshops on ‘getting started with your iPhone’, and ‘going further with your iPhone’. I’d say a quick ‘getting home without having your iPhone stolen’ seminar would be more useful tonight.

8.06pm: Talking of large, cellblock bully companies who exploit their customers (only joking lawyers. Really) – a reminder that the latest rumour here in Europe is that the iPhone will go to an unholy trinity of Vodafone, T-Mobile and Carphone Warehouse.

8.03pm: Sounds like not everyone Stateside is impressed with Apple’s choice of AT&T Wireless as the exclusive operator for iPhone: “It’s terrible that Apple is selling out its customers to this thug of a company,” writes Cory Doctorow on Boing Boing.

“It’s like being traded to the cellblock bully for two packs of cigarettes. None of the mobile carriers are good companies, but AT&T is the worst of the bunch. And honestly, is there anyone who believes that having a captive audience of two-year-locked iPhone customers will incentivize AT&T to behave better?”

7.59pm: Why didn’t I get a superfast computer to have all these browser windows open, rather than an old-skool (i.e. pre-Intel) Mac Mini? Answers on a postcard please (which will get to me before I’ve finished refreshing any homepages…)

iphonemissingmanual.jpg7.58pm David Pogue’s had an iPhone for weeks, thanks to being a hotshot Noo Yoik journo. And he’s publishing a book giving tips and tricks that Apple doesn’t mention in the manual. Read a preview here and learn about double-tapping, keyboard speedups and secrets of the sensors. That last one should be the bit after the colon in the next Indiana Jones movie.

7.52pm: Gizmodo is making mischief in the line at the NY Apple Store. Good work!

7.50pm: Technology Evangelist is broadcasting live from an Apple Store on Ustream.tv, although I can’t get the live feed to actually load. It might explode my poor Mac Mini if I carry on trying, so see if you can get this to work.

7.46pm: Fake Steve Jobs on the iPhone launch: “Apple employees, view these photos and see what you have done, and then go home and tell your children — those smallish people who live in your house, the ones you haven’t seen in a couple of years — tell them, You see those people suffering outdoors, enduring the heat and rain and monsoons just so they can get a cell phone? I did this. This was my work.”

7.41pm: Plenty of US politicians will have views on the iPhone, but how many are waiting in line to actually buy one? Philadelphia’s mayor is – see him defend his decision. When iPhone comes to London, I want to see Ken Livingstone camping outside an Apple Store. With his newts.

7.37pm: Get your fill of Apple iPhone patents, which have emerged online today.

7.33pm: This is cool: Hahlo is an iPhone-esque interface for Twitter. (via TUAW)

7.29pm: If you’re getting an iPhone today… well, you’re probably queuing right now. But someone at home should be downloading iTunes 7.3, which you’ll need before playing with it. Apparently it’s got secret ringtones icons too. Lumme.

iphone-keys.jpg7.23pm: How’s the iPhone keyboard perform? Apple has uploaded a new video walkthrough showing how it all works. Have a look.

7.19pm: By the way, you can email me with your tips, thoughts and casual abuse – simply pop me a line at [email protected].

7.18pm: Let’s kick off with a quick roundup of today’s posts on our sister blog iPhonic. According to a poll on Facebook, 7% of the social networking site’s users are planning to buy an iPhone. Fellow Web 2.0 firm Zoho has announced it’s bringing its iZoho office suite to iPhone.

The music industry is fearing the iPhone, while Apple employees are celebrating it after Steve Jobs promised they’d all get a free one. In the US, Verizon Wireless is keeping its stores open until 9pm despite not having the iPhone, while medical firm MacPractice is making doctory apps for iPhone. Phew.

7.11pm GMT: taps screen Is this thing on? Ah, good. Let’s begin.

Stuart Dredge
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