iPhone 4: good, bad, ugly

After 1.5 h of hold time ATT hung up on us. Apple says it's n... on Twitpic I got my iPhone 4 today, a day early, like lots of other folks. Unlike lots of other folks I haven't had any problems with it except that Hipstamatic freezes up on me. My boyfriend has another story---one that makes me really angry at Apple and AT&T. Yes, I realize they're evil corporations, but until today when my Apple stuff wasn't right, they MADE it right. Right then. Boyfriend first of all found his iPhone box just left on the front porch, which he was happy but nervous about. (Really, FedEx? You leave a brand new iPhone sitting there? And someone WAS home to answer the door!) He unboxed it and turned it on only to see what you can see in the photo: a hole and crack in the retina display. There isn't a palpable crack in the glass. But needless to say, he was upset. That happens when you spend a lot of money on a cool product and it's jacked up. Then came the true beginning of a nightmare, and I still don't have a good read on the outcome.

First we called AT&T, because that's who he'd ordered from. They sent us to Apple. Apple sent us to AT&T. AT&T sent us to Apple. Each transfer cost 15 to 45 minutes of hold time, and the last hold time resulted in the Apple customer satisfaction rep hanging up on my boyfriend "due to high call volumes." From, presumably, people without cracked phones.

Second we went to the local AT&T store, presented the cracked phone, and said "give us a different one." They didn't have one. Our local Apple reseller didn't have one, either, and what's more said they couldn't help us at all since he bought it from AT&T. However, the AT&T store manager reached a reasonably helpful human at Apple who set up a Genius appointment for this weekend. This is so a Genius can document the damage but not necessarily so my boyfriend will get a new phone on Saturday. He may be without a crack-free phone until mid-July. It works, but there's a black spot right over most navigation buttons and the crack is distracting---this is in addition to the obvious fact that he received an expensive damaged toy and Apple and AT&T can't stop pointing fingers and replace it.

My boyfriend is a recent switcher and Apple fanboy, partly because I bleated so much about their excellent products and services. He did recently buy an iMac that he's had no trouble with and is happy about, but I see the fandom waning. Seriously. Apple, if you're going to send defective products? Or AT&T, if you're going to contract with a company that tosses phones on porches? You need to have some damage control in place, because people get really really mad when they get broken stuff and on top of that have to spend hours on hold only to be hung up on and told "we can't help you."

This genius appointment better result in our leaving the Apple Store with a new crack-free phone or there may be mayhem and snarkiness of a brand the geniuses won't care for. You KNOW they're going to have some phones lying around there, and we better get one. You send someone a broken phone and the only possible reasonable response is, "We're so sorry. Allow us to ship you a replacement for delivery tomorrow." The responses we've gotten so far are NOT reasonable (we can't do anything, we don't have any phones, we don't cover breakage, blah blah blah).

Very disappointing day from that standpoint. I love my own iPhone 4: it's fast, and Face Time rocks (I thought I would hate it, but it's actually wicked cool). I haven't experienced the issues with reception or yellow spots that others have experienced today, so maybe I lucked out and got a good phone. I'll write more later to sing its praises, but right now I'm pretty ticked at Apple.

UPDATE 6/25/10: My boyfriend got a call from ATT corporate yesterday. They apologized for his trouble and overnighted a pristine iPhone to our local ATT store. He picked it up this morning. They also tossed in a month of free service for all his time and trouble. Then they followed up to make sure he got it. This is a definite redemption of ATT's customer service. And we love our iPhone 4's!