How I Got an 3G iPhone: My Last-minute Strategy for Scoring

So after all the public thrashing about I did about why and why you shouldn’t get an iPhone just yet and despite the fact that I already own a 16GB iPod touch, I ended up deciding late yesterday that I would be getting one after all.  My reasons for the about face were:

  1. I hardly use the phone lately period
  2. I want to experience the app store and all it has to offer “connected everywhere”

I took my iPod touch on a recent trip and while it helped me stay away from email and such, without readily available wifi it just wasn’t the same.  Having an iphone would mean enjoying the social networks in real-time, everywhere.  I thought it would be cool.  After doing some math, I figured if I got rid of my datacard and switched carriers, my monthly bills wouldn’t change much.  Of course, I could save $30 on an already tight budget but oh well.

Having decided to get an iPhone the day before it goes on sale, in a country like Japan, where the iPhone would be offered for the first time, I knew my chances were slim.  The line in front of the Omotesando store was already 650 deep on Thursday night when I decided I would buy one.  So I came up with a strategy.

First I checked shipping volumes worldwide.  Turns out the UK was a good precedent.  I learned that the country as a whole was allotted 50,000 units in the first shipment divided amongst outlets and typical outlets carried 20-35 units with major branch stores carrying around 1000 units.  I figured Omotesando was the last place I’d get one.

In Japan, Softbank is the sole distributor of iphones.  You can’t buy it at the Apple Store.  But they do have shops in all major electronics outlets.  After some more research, I found out that Yodobashi was going to hand out purchase tickets starting 8:30 AM at their major branches and even instituted a “no queuing overnight policy”.  This was just my ticket.

So I arrived on the scene at 7AM, got my queue ticket for a queue ticket and waited an hour and a half while watching a movie.  The 16GB black was already sold out but they still had the 16GB in White, which quickly sold out after I arrived.  I must say, 90% of the crowd was mid 30s and over so I don’t think the iPhone has quite as much “cool factor” as other countries.  My pickup time is this evening.  I wonder if it’s as cool as they say.  To be honest, I feel more drained than excited now that the ordeal is over but kind of happy with how my strategy played out.