Faster iPhone Gets Off to a False Start

Apple releases the iPhone 3G to a frenzy of customers, who lined up around the world to purchase the latest version of Apple's mobile multimedia device.
By Mike Musgrove
Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, July 12, 2008

The launch of the new iPhone did not go entirely smoothly yesterday.

Sure, it was no surprise that people waited in line by the hundreds to get their hands on the new smartphone, which sports a faster Web connection than its predecessor. The unexpected part was that the crush of people activating new phones, and updating the software on old ones, threw iTunes for a loop and left some without a dial tone.

One tech Web site called it "the iPocalypse."

John Carnett was about to go on a week-long business trip to Nashville, but for much of yesterday his iPhone was unusable and locked in "emergency" mode. An update left him, and other users, with a slick, cutting-edge touch-screen device that could be used only to dial 911.

Some users who tried to upgrade their iPhones early yesterday to sample a new line of software applications got an error message on iTunes instead. Some did download the latest software, only to find that their device get stuck.

"Any idea how many phone calls I've missed today? How screwed up my business is?" wrote Carnett via e-mail after several hours of trying to get his phone working. He later returned his phone to life.

Although Apple and AT&T, the iPhone's carrier, planned to require buyers to activate the new iPhones before leaving the store, some customers were told they could activate the phones at home as a result of the iTunes problem.

A spokesman for AT&T, Mark Siegel, said, "The iTunes software was evidently overwhelmed by incredible demand."

"Apple has worked fast and furious to try and resolve this issue," he said.

Apple did not return phone calls for comment yesterday and released no statement.

More than 400,000 iPhones were expected to be sold worldwide over the weekend.

Some iPhone buyers grousing online started to refer to their useless devices as "iBricks." As one person posted on Twitter: "I still gots me an iBrick. Fully 90 minutes of trying to activate at home has FAILED."

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