I didn’t even hear my alarm go off.
I sat staring into the darkness of my apartment at 2:59am this morning, questioning the decisions in my life that led to waking up in the middle of the night to buy a $1,000 telephone. But I was in it now—no point in looking back.
Like many other pathetic individuals determined to lord the latest doodads over their friends and family, I had woken up to secure a new iPhone X, Apple’s latest smartphone. Pre-orders for the device, which will be available in stores Nov. 3, started at 12:01am US Pacific time (3:01am my time).
Apple told the world that the easiest way to secure a preorder was to use its Apple Store iPhone app (i.e. the best way to order a new iPhone is to already have an iPhone). That directive is what brought me to this state, sitting in the dark and staring at my perfectly serviceable iPhone 7 Plus (released a mere 13 months ago), so that I might replace it with a newer model that has a slightly nicer screen.
I opened the app—it wouldn’t work. That’s not surprising, seeing as Apple sells hundreds of millions of iPhones each year. Many, many other people were doing exactly what I was, and Apple’s servers were overloaded. At first, the app told me to “check back later,” then it told me there were errors. Then I gave up on the app and tried going to Apple’s website on my computer. It told me to check the app. I began to document my Kafkaesque descent into madness on Twitter.
But as I sat on my bed, my room lit only by my iPhone screen, shutting down and reopening the Store app repeatedly in the vain hope of completing a preorder and returning to sleep, I thought about some of the ways I could have spent the $1,149 that I had committed to spending on a new iPhone X (I chose the most expensive model, of course). Here are a few options:
- 23 budget smartphones
- A rather nice laptop
- One-sixth of a Bitcoin
- 7 shares of Apple stock
- A package vacation to Cancun
- 1,160 songs on iTunes
- A lifetime supply of razor blades
- A 1996 Honda Accord LX
- 1,149 cups of coffee
- A small house
- Season tickets for the New York Mets
- 114 months of membership at a gym
- 82 gallons of mayonnaise
- A few hours of therapy
- A coffin
Eventually, my incessant app reloading worked, and I was granted the privilege of handing over $1,149 to a store clerk at one of the most frenetic Apple Stores in the world at 8am on Nov. 3. I stopped contemplating mayonnaise and returned to sleep.
Apple said today that preorders for the iPhone X were “off the charts.”