In order to have all possible iOS test devices for our small development company, Roving Screens, I went out on the first day the Verizon iPhone was available on February 10, 2011 to buy one. I wasn’t sure if I should expect long lines or being told the phones have sold out.

I picked up my co-founder, Evan Kirchhoff, in San Francisco mid-morning and we drove up to the Marin Best Buy. He had good experiences with short lines there in the past during Apple product launches and it was also a chance for us to test the newest build of Mobimileage. He was a little worried since all the Best Buys opened at 7 am that morning in anticipation of a rush on the Verizon iPhone.

We got there around 11, there were about 9 people in the mobile portion of the store- 5 of them were employees, and 2 couples. An employee walked up to us immediately and asked what we were looking for and we asked, somewhat apprehensively, “Do you have Verizon iPhones left?”, thinking the lack of lines was because they had sold out hours ago.

He said, “Sure, no problem.” and started the process of getting us set up.

An hour later, after transferring all of my information off the HTC EVO on to the new iPhone, we were on our way back to San Francisco.

Two days later I also visited the Verizon Store and the Apple Store on University (here’s the backstory) and asked if launch day on February 10 was crazy- both said there was a little crowd of a few dozen people in the morning when they first opened followed by a steady trickle of 1-2  every few minutes. No one had sold out of the phones.

On the whole, it seems the Verizon iPhone launch has been successful but not the frenzy that some people were expecting. It could be that most people who wanted the phone on the first day ordered the Verizon iPhone online. My AT&T friends whose contracts are not up don’t seem to be in a rush to pay $500+ to switch.  There is still a healthy demand for the Verizon iphone on ebay and craigslist, but not the insane prices we saw when the 3G and 4 first came out.  However, most informal reports from the field seem to indicate that Verizon and Apple guessed almost spot on what the demand would be.  Although I have not heard of a store selling out, I have heard often that they are low on stocks.

So far, I’m enjoying the call quality and in a side-by-side comparison with my co-founder’s AT&T iPhone, the signal strength does not show significant difference.

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