When Apple’s 3G iPhone went on sale in the U.S. on Friday, the company had in place what it thought was an easy and painless process that would just work in getting customers up and running quickly. Apple said employees could complete the entire sign-up wirelessly, and in test runs figured it would take about 15 minutes per customer.
Turned out that wasn’t exactly the case. By 11 a.m. California time it was clear things weren’t going as planned. Reports on the Web abounded that existing iPhone users and buyers of new ones couldn’t activate the phone once they downloaded the new software.
Some workers in Apple’s flagship Manhattan store told customers the problem was with wireless partner AT&T. But AT&T blamed iTunes. Apple has so far gone radio silent, though by late afternoon it looked like things were improving.
Some fans didn’t seem to mind that the shiny new iPhone they just bought would work as little else than an elegant paperweight until it could be activated.
Danny Fukuba, 17, a recent graduate of Palo Alto High School, was first in line at his local Apple store. He bought the first iPhone last year, and has been camping out since Wednesday night for the second.