Millions and millions sold…

Everyone expects “revolutionary” from Apple. The truth is they only really do revolutionary once or twice in a decade. Once they set the market it’s all about making evolutionary changes. Evolutionary is precisely how I’d describe the iPhone 5s. It feels exactly the same in hand as the 5. Aside from the new color options, you’d probably never know it was a new device until you fired it up and saw what was “under the hood.”

The 5s, not surprisingly runs iOS7 like a champion. It’s a very snappy performer at every task I’ve thrown at it in four days. The new camera is the real game changer for me. I think they’ve finally improved it to the point where I won’t even be tempted to drag along a stand alone point and shoot camera when I go somewhere. For you photogs, it’s obviously not SLR quality, but hey, it’s a phone and not a $1000 camera, so there’s that. The OS itself is starting to grow on me. It still feels a little too colorful for me, but I have to admit the interface is very slick once you get use to it. There are plenty of toggles and options to control how iPhone behaves, but at the end of the day you’re still in Apple’s walled garden so some options are limited. Fortunately, most of us don’t by iOS or Apple products because we want to tinker with the innards.

Apple issued a press release today that cited over 9 million iPhone 5s and 5c variants sold over this past weekend. I have no doubt that’s how many were ordered since early Friday morning, but there’s no way that’s how many phones they put in hands over the last three days. The buying experience has really been the only blemish on what I otherwise consider a pretty remarkable phone. Whether you blame rolling out in too many countries, over estimating demand of the 5c models, or manufacturing challenges with the fingerprint reader, Apple had far fewer “flagship” models available in their retail stores than they have in past years. My best estimate is that they had no more than 400-500 on hand at Christiana Mall on Friday at launch. Of course that only matters if you’re committed to getting your hands on a phone on day one. Fortunately for me, Best Buy stepped in and filled the gap left in Apple’s own retail supply chain.

The bottom line? It’s a great phone, a solid performer, and absolutely the best phone I have ever owned. I have no regrets upgrading from the 5 to the 5s. If you’re sitting on a 4s, it’s probably a “must have” upgrade.

Sunday morning coming down…

I’ve been falling down on by blogging responsibilities this weekend. Between catching up on sleep from my aborted line-standing at the Apple Store and finally getting to spend a good chunk of time playing with this hard to procure new toy, there hasn’t been as much free time as you’d think during this three day weekend. Even so, the fourth thing I did this morning was make sure the Myspace Blog Archive Project was up to date on this Sunday morning – I came after letting the dogs out, feeding them, and making coffee. Even a dedicated blogger has to have priorities, no?

This morning’s archive selections close out the posts from May 2008 and are distinctly “slice of life” posts. No rants, no raves, just the minutia of what’s happening day to day. Hopefully it will be useful a hundred years from now to someone researching what life was like at the dawn of the 21st century. A boy can dream, anyway.

Now that I’ve had a full day with it, I’ve got a review of the iPhone 5s coming up. That will most likely make its debut tomorrow. The short version is this: If you’ve been considering picking up Apple’s latest flagship, go ahead and put your order in now. You’ll be waiting until October, but it’s going to be worth the wait.

The wee small hours of the morning…

Unbidden, I woke up at 3AM this morning, as if my brain were hard wired to Apple’s central hive in Cupertino. It’s iPhone launch day… sort of. It’s pre-order day for the iPhone 5c – the new polycarbonate-shelled, mid-priced successor to the iPhone 5. Even though I’m not in the market for the “c” variant, my internal clock still managed to rattle me awake in the wee small hours of the morning. Sadly that means being in for a long Friday with way less sleep than usual to get me through to the weekend. C’est la guerre.

It shouldn’t be a particular surprise that I’m holding out for the 5s, the new glass and aluminum Apple flagship. In previous years, this morning would have been pre-order time for it too, but some combination of marketing, constrained supply, and production factors mean that the only options for its first day of ability are buying directly from a retail store on the 20th or ordering online that morning and waiting (if all goes well) until the middle of the following week to take delivery. My plan for next Friday remains a footrace between my dislike of crowded spaces and an equally strong attraction to having a new toy at the first possible moment.

So for next Friday, my choices seem to come down to this:

Option #A – Wake up at 2:30 AM, drive to Delaware, get in line in the pre-dawn darkness and hope that the local Apple Store has stock on hand by the time I get to the front of the line; or

Option #B: Wake up at 2:30 AM, direct my browser to http://www.apple.com, hit refresh until the site comes back online, complete the order process, wait for a confirmation email, go back to bed until 5:00 AM, go to work, and then wait for four or five days for the FedEx truck to back down the driveway; or

Option #C: Waiting until the supply chain is refilled from the early adopter rush, walk into the local Apple Store and buying a phone a month from now. It also involves about a month’s more patience than I have on tap at any given time.

So really, it comes down to A or B… Both bad options in different ways. Option A is a roll of the dice regarding whether they’ll have the unit I’m looking, whereas Option B is an exercise in at least minor amounts of patience. Unfortunately, because I’m upgrading a current line, these options are also mutually exclusive – meaning I don’t think there’s any way to order one online at 3AM and the go try getting my hands on one a few hours later from the retail store.

With a week to go, I remain decidedly undecided.

Lines, lines, everywhere there’s lines…

So, Apple… listen… you’re a big, multibillion dollar international corporation with a supply chain that wraps around the globe. So I have to ask… What asshat in your marketing and sales department decided that not offering pre-orders for your new flagship phone was a good idea? I know you want the faithful to line up and cram the stores because that’s a great PR image that every news outlet is going to cover, but let’s face it, people are going to line up regardless of whether you have preorders or not. I’ve been on both sides of launch day; waiting in line at Saddle Creek and Christiana and sitting at home waiting on FedEx. Both served me well in the past, but I always had the option.

You know I want your shiny new phone on launch day and you know I’m going to be sorely tempted to schlep over to the Apple Store and get in line, but the fact is I’m older now and less willing to put up with the jackassery of standing around in lines waiting to give people my money than I once was. It’s not that I’ve gotten any more patient. I’ve just grown increasingly intolerant of large groups of people that I can otherwise avoid. As much as I want your new toy on its first day of availability – the day that I’ve had my greasy little hands on every previous model – I think I’m going to have to ride this one out until I can have one left on my doorstep or until your supply chain catches up and I can walk into a retail store and pick one up without getting into a knife fight in the parking lot.

I wish I could point to this as a sign of becoming older, wiser, and more responsible… the reality is probably that it’s just a sign of me becoming even more of an antisocial hermit as the years roll by. Then again, maybe it’s just the same concept expressed in a different way.