3G iPhone Launch Plagued with Problems
This morning's global iPhone launch has been plagued with problems, glitches, outages, product unavailability, application sync and software issues, and many, many frustrated customers. The overall consenus, thus far, seems to be: iPhone 3G = EPIC FAIL.
Oh, what a difference from the nearly universally-celebrated initial launch of the iPhone...
A quick browse of tech blogs shows the level of frustration of people who have actually managed to get their hands on one. One person has gone so far as to create a fake press release for an arguably more useful item, the iBrick.
What's your take on the new iPhone? Are you going to get one? Vote here.
See additional NowPublic coverage of this issue here.
UPDATE | 05:00pm EST - NEW YORK Meltdown
The launch of Apple Inc.'s much-anticipated new iPhone turned into an information-technology meltdown on Friday, as customers were unable to get their phones working.
"It's such grief and aggravation," said Frederick Smalls, an insurance broker in Whitman, Mass., after spending two hours on the phone with Apple and AT&T Inc., trying to get his new iPhone to work.
In stores, people waited at counters to get the phones activated, as lines built behind them. Many of the customers had already camped out for several hours in line to become among the first with the new phone, which updates the one launched a year ago by speeding up Internet access and adding a navigation chip.
Software compatibility problems marred the launch of the iPhone 3G at Apple's flagship store in London, where customers had difficulty activating their new phones.
Apple has an exclusive deal with network operator O2 in the U.K., but O2's Web-based activation system requires the use of Microsoft's Internet Explorer browser to register a new phone: It won't work with the Safari browser bundled in Apple's Mac OS X.
In its Regent Street store, Apple had installed VMware Fusion desktop virtualization software on some of its Macintosh computers, allowing them to run Internet Explorer on Windows, but the activation process was still not working.
"It just goes dead," said would-be customer Mark Phipps, who left the store frustrated and without an iPhone 3G.
"They wouldn't reserve us one, which is a real kick in the teeth," he said.
Phipps is one of at least three customers that left the store disappointed by the delays.
Another, Josh Young, said the activation process was completely broken. He planned to return later.
UPDATE | 1:44PM EST -- NEW YORK -
A spokesman for AT&T Inc., the exclusive carrier for the iPhone in the U.S., said there was a global problem with Apple Inc.'s iTunes software that prevented the phones from being fully activated in-store, as had been planned.
In a repeat of last year's problems, it looks like the insane demand for the iPhone 3G has taken its toll on Apple's iTunes activation servers -- that's a picture of iTunes locking up in the Chicago AT&T flagship earlier this morning. We're hearing that the servers are now definitely down after being intermittently active for the past few hours, and that customers are either being turned away or sent home from both Apple and AT&T stores to activate at home using iTunes. That's especially interesting since it suggests that AT&T was insisting on in-store activation to thwart unlockers, but for right now the real news is that lots of eager iPhone 3G buyers are stuck with two useless phones, since upgrading from a first-gen unit disables the SIM. Ouch.
I just spent 7 hours at the Apple Retail Store in the Domain in Austin, TX! Phew! I have my iPhone 3G – UNACTIVATED!! That’s right, Apple is sending phones home with people without activation because the massive worldwide load on their servers has brought down the iTunes activation process!
We’ll write a longer update later about our morning but while we were at the Apple Store (for 2 hours) there seemed to be a problem with the local network. Employees were scrambling fix routers, airport express and find hard wire cables but then realized it was not a local issues, but a worldwide issues. Both Apple stores and cellular service providers were having issues. Eventually the Apple employees just told me to take it home and activate it.
"There seem to be worldwide issues with this syncing process and Apple is working on it right now," AT&T Wireless spokesman Mark Siegel told ABCNews.com. "What we're telling our customers in the stores is once we have activated their account, we're urging them to go home and try syncing it later on iTunes. ... Apple is working on this problem."
Things that absolutely were terrible, as indicated by participants:
- No real breakfast (water, juice and power bars - what the heck?)
- System failure (they couldn’t do upgrades, only new accounts and even then, their system failed).
- They didn’t have enough personnel to handle all the requests.
Overall assessment - FAIL - but heck, some of my friends, including John Biehler, already got their iPhone!
I’m hearing we sold out of the early opening Halifax store within one hour of opening. We have sold out in the same early opening store in Ottawa. We are selling out in stores across the country, and we want to thank all our customers and future customers for their patience and enthusiasm.
With the help of private security guards, Rogers staff appeared to be letting in one customer roughly every 10 or 15 minutes as rumours of iPhone shortages and problems with Rogers’ computer systems enveloped the 100 or so people waiting under dreary skies.
You're a telco, and you are launching probably the most important cellphone ever. You have been advertising for months, paying possibly millions on publicizing your new product line, of which are rightly proud. On launch day, what do you do?
If you are Spain's Telefónica, you open two hours later than expected, having allowed a big queue to form. You then allow the people in, one by one, and enjoy the free publicity from the TV cameras outside. And then, you post a lone employee with a clipboard by the door to take names and numbers. And that's it.
That's right. No iPhones in Barcelona. When I asked an employee where they were he told me, "They still haven't arrived." Consider that a moment. The biggest cellphone launch of the year, and even the flagship store in Barcelona (the capital of Catalonia) doesn't have any handsets, and worse, doesn't know when it will get them. One estimate was July 17th. Other shops were no better, with confused employees fending off hoards of potential buyers. Nowhere was there any information...
Softbank said it sold out of iPhones at three major Tokyo stores. It refused to say how many iPhones are being sold and said it didn't have a nationwide store tally.
AND FROM THE TWITTERVERSE... nearly universal complaints.
It's certainly not the best of days for Apple, iTunes, and the telco's charged with service provision, activations, and the brunt of consumer aggravation and frustration.
PREVIOUSLY | 12:30PM EST -- The iPhone 3G launched in Canada and across various countries around the world this morning, bringing with it long lines (in some areas, other stores are reporting almost no lines) and even longer activation times, and in some cases, protests.
In protest to Roger's extremely high monthly cost, no unlimited data and a 3 year contract (the longest for any cell phone provider in the world), ruinediphone.com set up an online protest and rally, along with a virtual presentation.
On July 11, 2008 we will be hosting a free online webcast regarding the online petition against Rogers voice and data plans and invite people to sign the petition. We hope to get thousands of new signatures. Please join the free webcast to do your part.
1. We will provide a live statement from ruinediphone.com
2. Then we will have a message from David McGuinty, MP
3. Provide Rogers a chance to say a message
During the webcast you will be able add your name to the online petition and to David McGuinty's Bill C-555 at the same time.
In Britain, new iPhone customers faced a wait time of several hours before the network would allow them access, due to the overwhelming number of people trying to connect and activate their phones all at the same time.
The worldwide rollout of Apple's iPhone 3G, which took place at 8am local time across the globe, saw hoardes of fans queuing outside Apple, O2 and Carphone Warehouse stores, eager to be the first in Britain to get their hands on the device.
But as the computer system of O2, the exclusive network carrier in the UK, buckled under the weight of traffic, customers at around 1,300 stores were told they faced a wait of several hours before they could use their new iPhones.
As well, there are tons of tweets from iPhone users, people commenting on the whole situation and some who just saw the long line-ups.
seaofclouds: warning #iphone folks about bejeweled2's hypnotic level ups. do not use while driving about 1 hour ago · Reply · View Tweet SunnyInLA: 30 minutes already and first group not out yet #iphone about 1 hour ago · Reply · View Tweet kentlangley: In the #iphone update problems club. Update didn't complete and now phone will not activate or something. Great. No phone. about 1 hour ago · Reply · View Tweet nep: I'm 105 or so in line for the #iphone. Ahead of me: 99 guys, 5 women. about 1 hour ago · Reply · View Tweet