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Ralph de la Vega, CEO of AT&T's wireless unit, shows off the iPhone 3G to eager customers waiting outside the Atlanta AT&T store. Unfortunately a glitch left these customers and others unable to activate their phone.  (Source: Shawn Ramsey)
Apple's new dream gadget sees a less than stellar debut

The 3G iPhone launch seemed fated for success.  After months of anticipation, the day was upon loyal Apple fans.  As they camped in their Apple tents outside stores, visions of Steve Jobs delivering them rectangular shaped presents danced through their heads.  When they awoke crowds had formed, and their dreams were about to become reality.  Everything seemed perfect -- with naught a riot or robber in sight.

As the orderly lines began to shuffle into the Apple stores and get their new phones; that’s was when the problems began.  For all its savvy design work, and for all the months of engineering, Apple and its partner AT&T were wholly taken aback by a plethora of glitches that crippled the new phones.

Frederick Smalls, an insurance broker in Whitman, Massachusetts was among the loyal fans, turned angry critics.  After trying to get his new 3G iPhone to work for two hours with no success, he remarked, "It's such grief and aggravation."

As customers bought the new phone, which comes equipped with a higher-speed data connection and a GPS chip, they discovered alarmingly that they could not activate their phones.  The culprit according to an AT&T spokesman was a glitch in Apple's iTunes servers that made it so the phones could not be fully activated in store.

Managers told customers patiently to take the phones home and complete the activation process.  However, customers found to their dismay that at home Apple's servers were equally unresponsive.

The problem, which some are dubbing "the great iMess", even left owners of the older model of iPhones without service.  The old iPhones received a firmware update, which required reactivation.  They were similarly unable to reach the servers.

With the phones crippled for hours, only emergency calls could be made.  Freelance photographer Giovanni Cipriano, who updated his first-gen iPhone, was not happy.  He stated, "It's a mess."

The original iPhone launched with at-home activation only.  With the new iPhone, subsidization by carriers caused AT&T to want to activate in store. 

The problems closely followed glitches with Apple's MobileMe service, which launched Thursday.  The MobileMe service, which synchronizes a user's personal data across devices -- including the iPhone -- would not allow many users to log on.

From there it was all downhill for Apple.  Alex Cavallo was among those waiting in New York.  He remains an Apple fan, but admits that it was an unpleasant experience as he had to use another phone.  After being used to the iPhone, he describes his use of the standard phone as "uncomfortable".

With its attractive line of products, including the iPhone, iPod, and MacBook Air, it certainly has an attractive brand image.  As Nick Epperson, a 24-year-old graduate student, who camped out for the iPhone 3G stated, "Chicks dig the iPhone".

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My 1st gen iPhone had no issues.
By ghost03 on 7/13/2008 1:30:31 PM , Rating: 3
I updated my non-3g iPhone that afternoon and had absolutely no issues with reactivation. Judging by the huge number of reviews of iPhone applications present right after the launch, I'm going to go ahead and assume that I was anything but the only one that got activated right away.

Not saying that there weren't activation issues as I don't doubt it, but this article makes it seem as though most had issues, which I don't think is the case.

RE: My 1st gen iPhone had no issues.
By dryloch on 7/13/2008 1:34:21 PM , Rating: 2
ATT has a long history of having these types of problems. When phone number portability first came out there were lots of people having problems porting numbers. When they looked at the problems closely they discovered that as long as you were not porting to or from ATT there were no problems. Verizon Sprint and even TMobile had no issues porting back and forth with each other.

RE: My 1st gen iPhone had no issues.
By akugami on 7/13/2008 3:57:58 PM , Rating: 2
I am an Apple supporter, though I haven't owned a Mac in about 10 years. Currently using Vista Ultimate. The thing is, this is NOT ATT's fault. This is a fault with Apple's activation servers. I couldn't tell you how severe it was but judging from what reports and news blurbs I've seen, it was down for about 2 hours or so.

By Eaglegrafix on 7/13/2008 6:52:30 PM , Rating: 2
You are right, the activation problems were not AT&T responsibility. But I started to wonder if the AT&T stores "sell-out" was a true sell out or a decision to halt sales until the snafu was worked out? After all I was promised there would be enough supply by AT&T and not only me but many others were too. Suddenly Monday, maybe there will be a supply that suddenly appears now that activation process is working fine.

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