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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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RE: Wait a minute
By chick0n on 7/13/2008 6:42:34 PM , Rating: -1
Then maybe you Apple fanboys/girls should stop bragging about how "1337" ur piece of Apple crap is.

"Huh what? u got a problem? it doesnt work? wont activate ? who cares, we got ur money. now go home and work it out on ur own."

Apple fanboys/girls always feel that they're superior, hahaha, eat it bitxh.

RE: Wait a minute
By gabacus on 7/13/08, Rating: -1
RE: Wait a minute
By artemicion on 7/13/2008 10:01:58 PM , Rating: 5
Why must a person who complains about a crap job by Apple be per se branded a Windows fanboy? A crap launch is a crap launch. Apple and Microsoft have both been guilty of this.

RE: Wait a minute
By gabacus on 7/13/08, Rating: -1
RE: Wait a minute
By afkrotch on 7/14/2008 2:58:34 AM , Rating: 4
I've seen 2 (3 if you really think battery life is an issue when surfing on 3G). Apple bricking modded phones after an update. Then this activation issue.

I don't consider surfing on 3G as a big deal, since it's a problem on all smartphones. Probably all cellphones, if you start surfing the web on any phone that's capable. Whether it's 3G or not.

I won't say that Windows isn't without it's troubles, cause there's plenty. Doesn't mean Apple doesn't have it's troubles either. Leopard sure as hell had tons of problems when it released and it was on relatively new hardware. Vista on the other hand just ran like crap on old hardware. Kind of expected that one. Wouldn't expect Leopard to run too extremely great on a G4 with 256 meg of ram.

Vista's troubles were from non-Microsoft companies not making drivers or making crap drivers. That or users installing it on crappy old machines. Leopard on the other hand was built around specific sets of hardware that Apple went through, yet had tons of problems.

See it how you want, I'll see it how I want.

RE: Wait a minute
By gabacus on 7/14/2008 3:24:00 AM , Rating: 2
any platform has its troubles.. at the end of the day, its all about personal preference.

as for vista, i dont actually have a problem with it and your arguments are completely valid. the problem was the hardware, not the software. As with he iPhone launch, the vista launch was crap. i think artemicion said it best... a crap launch is a crap launch...

RE: Wait a minute
By afkrotch on 7/14/2008 3:34:54 AM , Rating: 2
Nowadays, everyone is plagued with crap launches. iPhone crap launch, Vista crap launch, 360 crap launch, PS3 crap launch (well lack of games), and tons of other crap.

I'm on Windows, simply cause, it has the games. Also work in IT, so no probs with my comp. It'd be the same if I were on OSX.

RE: Wait a minute
By robinthakur on 7/14/2008 6:54:36 AM , Rating: 1
I'd like to see the iPhones you speak of which were 'bricked' in all likelihood, they could be restored by iTunes. Its just the fact that they then needed reactivation. I've never managed to brick my iPhone in the sense that it was in a state which couldn't be recovered using iBricker etc. and I'm guessing most other people haven't either. At the end of the day if you choose to modify the phone to use it on your own network/jailbreak etc, you should be very aware that it won't be supported should you break it.

Amusingly the iPhone seems to stoke such invective in some of the Dailytech crowd, probably because currently its a zillion times better than any windows mobile device, and yes I speak from painful experience. I use and love Vista, Leopard, iPhone (white 16GB) and am not bothered what fanbois have to say on the matter because they are fundamentally pointless.

RE: Wait a minute
By kelmon on 7/14/2008 3:33:35 AM , Rating: 2
English isn't your first language, is it? It's hard to take seriously the rant of someone that you have to try and decode first.

Apple fanboys/girls always feel that they're superior, hahaha, eat it bitxh.

Yes, it's going to be tough feeling superior to that kind of incisive wit, but somehow I think we'll muddle through.

RE: Wait a minute
By robinthakur on 7/14/2008 7:20:09 AM , Rating: 2
I think he meant to say "Windows fan boys (they are ALWAYS male as a rule) always feel that they're inferior " and its harsh to correct his spellings as he's clearly just learning basic literacy.

Anyway, I personally feel there's more than a whiff of PR and spin going on here: "Whoah demand was so high we couldn't have predicted it etc" all this does is get more people talking and injects the notion of scarcity for a device manufactured in its millions. Along with the other story that the UK Oxford street branch of Apple needed police assistance to close the store, this smacks more of press hysteria than anything else. This will in no way impact the long term success of the iPhone and will probably serve to help it. The drones out there railing against it need to remember that they don't own shares in MS (I presume) and that at the end of the day you yourself are guilty of getting worked up...over a phone!

RE: Wait a minute
By kelmon on 7/14/2008 9:04:12 AM , Rating: 2
Oh yeah, no kidding. As the old adage goes, "there's no such thing as bad publicity", so even the mess that was Friday will probably have helped Apple. Restricting supply is a tricky business, if you want to do that, because if you restrict it too much then potential customers will get fed up and buy something else. A product that sells out quickly is good for business in numerous ways but Apple will need to be careful to ensure that stock continues to flow (unlike during the 2-month hiatus before the 3G iPhone was released).

RE: Wait a minute
By robinthakur on 7/16/2008 8:55:06 AM , Rating: 2
Agreed, I wasn't sure whether Apple's strategy in the 2 months prior to the 3G launch of starving the market of handsets was a sensible one. Maybe they just didn't want people saying "I bought this old iPhone last week and now its outdated already" etc or maybe another reason.

Restricting supply works in the console industry (see Nintendo) but all the Wii has to compete with is a console with reliability issues and a catalogue of limited depth and the clunking failure that is the PS3.

In the cellphone market competition is far more fierce. Vodafone in the UK found it difficult to give up trying to tell me about handset's that were "Just as good as the iPhone" until I told them that if they can't offer me an iPhone I'm simply cancelling the contract. So I did.

"Well, we didn't have anyone in line that got shot waiting for our system." -- Nintendo of America Vice President Perrin Kaplan

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