updated 11:55 am EDT, Sat June 30, 2007
iPhone activation woes
Apple's in-home activation strategy failed for many customers (login required), including early customers who tried to activate their account or transfer numbers from another carrier. Before using an iPhone, users are required to download iTunes 7.3 and connect their iPhone to the computer, but in some cases, customers were not able to activate their phones. Customer representatives said that the cause was due to the high number simultaneous activations, but the online activation process -- a first for the industry -- appears to have marred the "I want the smile" experience for which Apple and AT&T were hoping. In many cases, customers were greeted with the message "your activation requires additional time to complete" and were told that AT&T would send an e-mail message when complete, leaving many with a $500-600 "slick" paperweight (at least until activated).
Unfortunately, prior to activation, new customers are unable to use any iPhone functions -- including the iPod -- until the process is complete as the iPhone continues to display the "Activate iPhone... Connect to iTunes" message. Representatives also said that the iPhone must remain connected to the Mac and the Internet for the process to complete, but were unable to give an estimated time for completion or any workarounds for the process.
Delays are in some cases reported to be substantial. "9 hours and waiting in new york. anyone waiting this long?" writes one poster to Apple's support forums. Other posters claim times of six, 12, or even 15 or more hours without any resolution from AT&T or Apple.
One specific, recurring complaint has involved trouble with automatically trasnferring an old number, which may be resolvable by getting in contact with an AT&T state Number Porting office. iPhone buyers have, however, also encountered activations that failed locally but succeeded on AT&T's end, or conflicts with earlier phone plans, such as moving from an individual account to a Family Plan.