updated 03:25 pm EDT, Fri July 11, 2008
Global iPhone 3G problems
Apple's iPhone 3G launch has become a stressful day of failed activations, mirroring activation issues during the original iPhone launch last year, accounts indicate. The 2007 launch saw AT&T servers go down in a flood of activations; this year AT&T says that there has been a global problem with Apple's iTunes servers that prevents phones from being fully activated in-store, as had been planned. Customers have been told to finish activating their phones at home, but have faced the same problems there, according to Associated Press reports. While both Apple and AT&T are signing up users for AT&T service, neither company is able to complete activation in-store and both are asking customers to finish their activation at home; unfortunately, until the final iTunes activation, the iPhones are not able to make/receive calls.
"It's such grief and aggravation," says Frederick Smalls, an insurance broker in Whitman, Massachusetts, who spent two hours on the phone with Apple and AT&T while trying to get his new iPhone to work.
"On the iTunes front, yes, we see intermittent issues there still," admits an AT&T representative. "We are suggesting to our customers that, after purchasing their new iPhone and voice and data plan, they synch the device later at home while Apple works hard to resolve the iTunes issues."
In fact, people have waited long periods at counters to get their phones activated, while lines have stalled behind them. Many customers had previously camped out for several hours in line to be among the first with the new iPhone 3G.
Owners of the original iPhone, having endured their 2007 problems, have also had issues today. The iPhone 2.0 software update -- which promises new functionality such as native applications -- also requires reactivation through iTunes, leading to the same activation woes.
The iPhone 3G launched in 21 countries on Friday, creating a global burden on iTunes servers. The server troubles follow Thursday's MobileMe misfire, which has left some services still unavailable, with posted updates stating that the "transition is underway," but it is "taking longer than expected."
iPhone activation errors are also being reported in the UK, with server outages forcing customers away from O2 and Apple stores. In Canada, Rogers Wireless -- the sole Canadian iPhone provider -- has had severe issues, with servers crashing from a large activation volume.
Update: Some stores are performing manual over-the-phone activations to restore service for new customers, while other those upgrading to the new iPhone are "still held up, and they are waiting for confirmation," although no ETA is available.