This morning I woke up at about the same time I always do. I stumbled out of bed and down the hall to my home office, where I sat down at my desk and clicked on my desk lamp. After waking my computer, I winced a bit as I typed A P P L E . C O M into my web browser. The website loaded instantly, and about three minutes later I had preordered two new iPhone 6 handsets, a space gray one for myself and a second silver model for my wife. Both handsets will be delivered on launch day, September 19th. I put my computer back to sleep, switched off my desk lamp and stumbled downstairs.
Most people, of course, did not enjoy a similarly smooth preorder experience.
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Each and every year that Apple has allowed preorders for its iPhones, it has been a disaster. An absolute disaster. And this year was no different.
Preorders were supposed to go live at 12:01 a.m. PDT and after a bit of a delay, Apple’s iPhone order pages went live. Then, moments later, the inevitable happened: the site crashed. Hard.
Apple fans were in store for hours of frustration as the site came back up and then crashed again repeatedly. Scrolling through a simple Twitter search will show you just how frustrated customers were. Carrier websites were crashing as well, and people took to Twitter, Facebook and elsewhere to vent their frustration.
Then, Apple’s website finally came back online and stayed up… just as launch-day inventory of every single iPhone 6 Plus model sold out.
I knew all of this would happen, so I decided to gamble. Most people probably at least suspected that iPhone preorders would not go smoothly, but eager fans jumped into the fire anyway. It’s hard to fault them, of course, considering this is the biggest update Apple’s iPhone line has ever seen.
Then again, sitting this ordeal out and waiting for the morning worked just fine for me, as I suspected it would. And the worst case scenario — heaven forbid — was having to wait a few extra days or weeks before my new iPhones are delivered.
But for the more enthusiastic Apple fans out there, preorder debacles and launch-day chaos have become traditions that Apple fans expect, and even thrive on. These crazy experiences bring Apple fans closer together and ultimately strengthen a bond that no other gadget fans share.
From the outside looking in, it may seem insane. I know I can’t be bothered to deal with it. But for millions upon millions of people around the world, it will all have been worth it come September 19th, when they open those boxes and a thin strip of plastic stuck to a 4.7- or 5.5-inch display is the last thing that stands between them and their shiny new iPhones.