Amid the hundreds of people waiting in line for a new iPhone 3G in downtown Boston on Friday were "Family iPhone" -- three members of the Kozlek family from Shavertown, Pa. Each had been first-generation iPhone users and each wanted the new device primarily for faster network speeds.
The Kozleks already have four of the older iPhones, but they were in line to buy three new ones at 6:30 a.m. -- a wait that took them three hours.
The youngest member, Thomas Drew Kozlek III, 28, a second-year medical student at Boston University, said he could use a faster network to reach the Internet, send e-mails and text messages and find Web information for medical classes. "I am basically already using the iPhone as a replacement for my computer," he said, noting that he expects to try out some of the interesting medical applications in Apple's new App Store.
His father, Dr. Thomas Drew, has used his iPhone in his surgical practice to search the Web, primarily with Google. "I use it a lot for disease information," he said. "You'd be surprised how much up-to-date medical information you can get that way."
His wife, Mary Kozlek, said she is already an avid iPhone fan and feels that new GPS capabilities in the updated version will be useful. She distributes health products, and can use a faster data device for various text, photo and Web applications, as well as for voice, she said.
The cost of buying three new iPhones didn't deter her. "We will spend [US]$600 for three phones, less than it cost for one last year," she said.
Her daughter, also a medical doctor, has a first generation iPhone, but didn't join the group. "She will probably get one later," said her brother with a smile. "Apple has a way of drawing people in."
As the Kozleks waited, others in line said they were willing to wait hours to get a new iPhone. Colin Dickerson, an engineer at P&G Beauty, a Procter& Gamble Co. in Boston, said he would probably keep his first iPhone, but wanted a new one "because I just like gadgets."
Dickerson, who admitted to being a true Apple fanatic, was concerned that the new 3G device might use up its battery faster. But Dickerson pointed to reports that the iPhone 3G battery is screwed in, meaning he could remove it and replace it if need be.
"I'm also a little disappointed that...they are charging more for service," he said.
Brady Anderson, who said he works "for a big software company," is hoping to use the iPhone 3G for access to GPS and e-mail, but was a bit disappointed by the lack of support for Bluetooth. He's been building a bartending application for the device that lists various drinks, and was surprised to find online Thursday that Apple's App Store already had a similar app. "It might be better than mine," he said.
Continuing the alcohol theme, Todd Alstrom, wants to use the new iPhone 3G to build applications for his home-based business, www.beeradvocate.com, which gives information on beer and beer-related events. Flashing his older T-Mobile Wing phone, Alstrom said he needs a better user interface and a faster network. He has already built widgets for the MacBook Pro and wants to explore what can be done with the iPhone.
"Video is important to me, but I'm also looking forward to faster Web access and visual voicemail," he said.
Brant Castellow arrived at the downtown Boston Apple store about 5 a.m. with Dickerson saying he can use the iPhone 3G for "all kinds" of business and personal uses. He's never had an iPhone, but friends did. "I wish they made a 32-Gig (gigabyte) version, since I have so many songs," he said. Instead, he plans to settle for the 16GB version, he said.
Castellow, a regional sales executive for Correlagan, a health care products company based in Waltham, Mass., said his company does not have an Exchange server, meaning he would not be deploying that version of e-mail now available to iPhone users. Access to Gmail and other systems should be sufficient, he said.
After waiting about 10 hours in line, Patrick Morse left the Apple store at 9 a.m. waving his new iPhone 3G in his hand, a tired smile on his face. "This is it!" he exclaimed to all around him. He figured he was about 25th in line, and had used a pillow and lawn chair to stay comfortable in the early hours of the day.
Morse, a 27-year-old high school English teacher in the Boston public schools, said he specifically waited for the iPhone 3G for its faster network speeds, especially after seeing friends use the slower EDGE network from AT&T on the first iPhone. Faster speeds will help in loading an IM network as well as accessing Facebook and MySpace.
He said the device will also come in handy in reading e-mails from students, who are encouraged to ask him questions at any time. "This way I don't need a PC and I can be there for them," he said. Morse said his birthday is coming up in a month, and the iPhone 3G is going to be his present to himself.
After buying the new iPhone and signing a contract to spend about $95 a month on voice and data services, plus taxes and fees, he admitted: "It's a lot of money. But it will be worth it."
This story, "Who's Buying the iPhone?" was originally published by Computerworld.