3G iPhone Stumbles On Launch

Apple’s much-hyped launch of their 3G iPhone today left buyers on both sides of the pond angry, albeit for vastly different reasons.

3G iPhone - The Queue

Stateside, Apple appeared to successfully match supply with demand, but many enthusiasts, some of whom had camped outside overnight to be amongst the first to get their hands on Apple’s latest gadget, were frustrated when they were unable to use their new phone due to activation problems.

Problems and complaints multiplied when existing iTunes users also found themselves shut out from their accounts.

AT&T, the sole US carrier for the iPhone, blamed synchronisation problems with Apple’s iTunes music software, suggesting too many users tried to activate the product at the same time. (You really have to think they might have anticipated this – you don’t queue for hours and hours and then wait until tomorrow to have a go.)

“While Apple is resolving the issue, we’re telling people to sync up to iTunes later at home,” said AT&T spokesman Mike Coe.

(Good luck with that, Mike.)

Meantime, in the UK, many fans were left empty-handed when Apple failed to deliver more than a few dozen handsets to some stores. O2, which like AT&T has sole rights to the iPhone, said many stores sold up to 40 iPhones an hour, but that customers had experienced ‘technical difficulties’ with the computer system that Apple uses to connect new users to O2.

I’ll be honest here – I was in Brighton today which has one of the flagship O2 stores. There was a huge queue of people outside, but I didn’t see it move at all and I passed by several times over the course of an hour or so. I really don’t understand why anybody wants to buy the first version of a new product – I mean, historically they’re always problematic and/or buggy – and why, even if they do, they have to also be the first to get it. What is that all about? Does anyone really think this is the only chance they’ll get?

The original iPhone was launched in 2007 and sold six million units. Steve Jobs has said he plans to sell 10 million units this year in an attempt to capture just one per cent of the global mobile-phone market.

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