Rotten Apple

iPhone 3G: Worst product launch ever?

No, it’s not that bad. It’s not like Windows Vista bad. But it’s sure as hell not going smoothly.

Wednesday night, Apple’s new “MobileMe” service was supposed to go live. Granted, that is the worst product name since Windows ME, but MobileMe is something I actually want — instant syncing of most any data I like between my laptop, desktop and iPhone. Only it didn’t go live Wednesday night. Or any time on Thursday. Today it works, at times, a little, in fits and starts.

And so many people are activating their iPhone 3G models this morning, that I can’t even get iTunes to update my old phone’s firmware to 2.0 — even though it let me take the 218MB download earlier this morning. Sad fact is, Apple’s (and AT&T’s?) servers aren’t up to the task. What did they think was going to happen today?

The good news is, the new App Store works just fine. I’ve downloaded four iPhone applications already without a hint of trouble. But until Apple lets me install the new firmware, all those apps can do is take up space on my hard drive. Fun!

The bad news is, this is pretty ugly. New phone buyers are getting sent home to activate their iPhones — and they probably won’t have any better luck than I’m having right now. When will their phones stop being bricks? Today? This weekend? Monday?

Even at the nicely reduced price, I’d expect better service from Apple and AT&T.

UPDATE: Speaking of bricked phones, mine makes a nice paperweight right now. iTunes finally deigned to install the 2.0 firmware, but it doesn’t quite work. As in, my phone shows up in iTunes with a Microsoft-style cryptic error message. “We could not complete your iTunes Store request. An unknown error occurred (-9838). There was an error in the iTunes store. Please try again later.”

UPDATE: I’m so not the only one.