iPhone Woes

As everyone I know who bought an iPhone is currently experiencing the awesomeness of the AT&T end of the Apple-AT&T collaboration, I figured I’d post up this story I found in the forums about one guy’s well-put experience with the iPhone to date:

Getting the iPhone was easy. Getting it to work, however has been more of a Microsoft type experience.

I walked right into the flagship 5th Avenue Apple store last night at 10PM to the still roaring cheers of employees lined up at the entrance.

As I marched down the shiny spiral staircase, the view of the crowds reminded me of Moses’s descent from Mt. Zion, masses of people welcoming me, while at the same time occupied with their own business of conducting their iLifes. I was ushered like a movie star into the iPhone line corral, which had about 5 people in it and in less than 2 minutes flat, my Green Amex card was being silently swiped and I was handed a bag with what looked like a small box of very expensive cologne inside.

I had been “gifted” the most coveted tech prize at all and could hardly contain my excitement as I rushed into the round glass elevator full of other devotees with their little black bags. Walking out it felt like I had won the marathon - more cheering and adoring fans. “Where was the champagne”, I asked myself?

I hopped on my bike and rode home to the Upper upper west side and in seconds flat had the bag and it’s contents opened, eager to inspect the candy inside.

I was not disappointed - the phone, and it’s packaging are a model of Apple simplicity and style, well worthy of all the hype and upholding the companies tradition of doing things right that sings a compelling song to my organizational heart. The packaging is minimal and there are no instructions to speak of. The phone told me to connect to iTunes for set up, which I already knew having seen the video on Apple’s website. After a small bit of frustration with nothing happening, I decided to check for updates and realized my iTunes wasn’t the latest version, so I downloaded that version (again with classic Apple ease and simplicity) and re-started iTunes.

This time, my phone was recognized and I was prompted to set up my new AT&T account. “Hooray”, I shrieked, eager to have the phone up and running so I could show it off to a friend who was stopping by any minute now.

Almost 12 hours later, I am still waiting, the “Your Activation Requires Additional Time To Complete” message still taunting me when I open iTunes. I guess you could call it the Hangover. I woke up at 2AM and when I was still greeted by the annoying, sorry you’ll still have to wait message, decided to call the customer service number on the screen. After an 8 minute wait on hold, I was told by the very nice AT&T lady that I would just have to wait until I got said email.

Again, I am still waiting. I imagine there are tens of thousands of us still waiting. AT&T couldn’t hold up their part of the bargain and must have been overwhelmed by the desire to create new accounts. The thing that baffles me and I find somewhat amusing at the same time is, why did the part that involves human beings (going to store, waiting in line, having credit card and other information exchanged and then getting the phone, take less than 5 minutes, while the supposedly automated part, signing up for service take 10 hours and counting? Is this what one can expect from AT&T? Should I really be dropping my Verizon service?

I’m baffled. I’m annoyed. I’m feeling like I bought an Apple product, operated by Dell.

Its really quite a shame. This was Jobs’ legacy product, to be sure. Now it will be marred by this widespread failure to activate smoothly. Initially, I thought it was ingenious of Apple to do offline activation of these phones, but its clear that they and AT&T weren’t prepared. People are without their phones. I imagine there will be a big dip in sales after this hits the news. Good thing they released on a Friday ;-)