All’s Quiet on the Apple Front

1216143880After hearing about the iPhone madness surrounding the Apple Store at the CambridgeSide Galleria from Universal Hub, my editor sent me to scout out the situation at the Boylston Street location. I turned onto the busy street off Mass. Ave. and heard chants echoing up ahead. As I get closer to the Hynes Convention Center, the noise grows, and I got more excited. Have the techies revolted? Is the Apple Store under siege?

Turns out, no. It’s just a small band of protesters with a megaphone, urging people to boycott the company that provides food for Hynes. I dodged the pamphlets and the glass behemoth loomed into view. The doorway is clear of people, and through the windows I can see just a handful of mid-day shoppers wandering around on each of the three floors. The good news is that the nightmare, apparently, has ended.

The bad news, I soon realized, is that the lack of people is due to the lack of iPhones available. “Sorry, iPhone 3G is not available today,” a large sign says.

On the second floor, where all the phones are displayed, I tried to get a couple of staff members to talk to me. When the first one finds out I’m from Boston magazine, her pierced face looks distinctly uncomfortable. She tells me that they’re not allowed to make comments to the press. I ask if the store was busy when the phone came out, and if there were any problems with all the people who were trying to get one.

She looked to her co-worked for help, who is also wearing a bright turquoise t-shirt with the new iPhone on it, and he shakes his head. It turns out that Apple employees aren’t allowed to talk about how the iPhone has caused problems. Go figure.

They pointed me in the direction of the store manager, who might be able to tell me more. The manager’s busy, so I took the opportunity to check out some laptops when another worker walks up to me to see if I need help with anything. So, I ask about the iPhone. He looks apologetic and tells me that they sold out yesterday, and they don’t know when the next shipment will arrive. By now, the manager is free and I bid my new friend, adieu.

According to the Boylston store manager—who is “not allowed to provide any quotes to the press”—there actually used to be a large crowd. On Friday, when the iPhone was released, the line for the Apple Store snaked all the way down Boylston, she says. She also tells me of their first customer, who camped out in front of the store for four and a half days so he could be the first to get the phone.

So, this lull is only temporary. Someday soon, word will spread of a new shipment and customers will once more rush the doors. Then it will be madness all over again.