It turns out that it's possible to show up early and still not look so smart.
I showed up to my Apple store at 6 a.m. (2 hours before opening), and I was around #50 in a line that quickly swelled to hundreds and hundreds of people. Even though the line was sometimes slowed to a halt by computer problems, I got to the front of the line by about 9:30 a.m., which wasn't too bad.
The Apple Store people, who require you to activate your phone before leaving the store, were unable to figure out how to convert my existing prepaid iPhone plan to a postpaid plan so I could get the new iPhone, even though I had asked them earlier and they said they would be able to do it. Since this meant they couldn't activate it, they refused to sell me an iPhone and sent me to the AT&T store instead.
The AT&T rep also struggled but ultimately converted me to a postpaid plan. However, AT&T Stores became sold out of iPhone 3Gs nationwide in a matter of hours - so it's back to waiting for me.
Folks, if you have a GoPhone-based iPhone, call AT&T before going to the Apple Store. Explain the situation and ask them to convert you to a postpaid plan. Honestly, I would recommend not even mentioning the word "prepaid" to the Apple Store reps if you can avoid it. Apple Store reps apparently cannot handle GoPhone plan conversions, even if they say they can.
I can't guarantee AT&T will be able to change your plan, or that this will get you through the Apple Store's process without problems - but if you just show up at the Apple Store still in "prepaid mode" like I did, you are most definitely only throwing away hours of your life that could be better spent on Super Monkey Ball.
I'm curious if any of our readers had a similar situation, or perhaps a contrasting one...
-------------------- Chief iPod Correspondent
Senior Time Waster
Captain of the Planet Express
Assistant Jedi Librarian