« Updating RSS and... | Main | Sixteen days until... »

My personal iPhone 3G debacle

I'm sorry to say that I participated in the iPhone launch debacle yesterday. I wrote up the frustrating and somewhat embarrassing timeline for a buddy of mine. You might find it interesting, so here it is:

Friday, July 11, 2008

6:45AM I arrive at AT&T store at Triangle Town Center mall (Raleigh, NC)
7:50AM 33 people ahead of me, ~150 people behind me in line
7:55AM AT&T rep tells us that they have 15 iPhones, but they'll take orders
8:00AM I leave for Apple store at Crabtee Valley Mall
8:20AM I arrive at said store, line looks to be greater than 200 people
9:00AM The line moves and is making slow progress
10:00AM line stops moving for over an hour because "activation servers are down"
10:05AM I've got my laptop, so I sit down and start coding (w/free Apple WIFI)
11:30AM The line starts moving again. scoot, code, scoot, code...
12:50PM I stop coding because laptop battery power is dead
1:00PM I attend a half-hour meeting via telecon
1:40PM I finally get into store, Apple rep helps me
1:50PM Apple rep helps me, gets "IRU account not supported error message"

I call AT&T, they tell me that I have a special "flag" on my line and they are not allowed to remove it via phone, and I MUST to upgrade my iPhone at the AT&T store -- i.e. wait 5-7 days for delivery from AT&T.

So, I call AT&T again and get another rep who tells me that they CAN remove the flag over the phone, mumble, mumble and then my cell phone connection drops.

2:20PM Apple puts me in a special AT&T problem line
2:40PM Apple rep calls AT&T, gets them to remove flag
2:50PM Apple rep will hold my iPhone until AT&T calls me to confirm flag removal
2:55PM Cheers erupt as the customer who was 1st in line at 8AM finally gets activated
3:00PM I leave empty handed but with a promise that AT&T will call within 24 hours

I'm not going to try to analyze this; I'll leave that up to you, dear reader.

Update: Saturday, July 12, 2008

10:00AM Call AT&T to ask about status, they blame Apple for problem saying only Apple stores had problems yesterday.
10:25AM AT&T tells me they are now issuing a "billing ticket" to ensure that all flags were dropped from my account. They say I'll have to wait up to 4 hours before it has taken effect.
2:25PM Apple store won't test the activation process over the phone so I make the half-hour drive to store only to get the same "IRU account" error.
2:45PM Call AT&T from parking lot, they tell me sorry things are taking longer than expected, we'll call you ASAP. I drive home empty handed again.
5:00PM Call AT&T to complain to a manager about the broken 24 and 4 hour promises. He tells me problem is on Apple side and if I ordered a phone at the AT&T store everything would be fine (in 5-7 days). He says there is no telling when they'll finally clear the flag on my account, so just keep on waiting.

Update: Sunday, July 13, 2008

11:30AM Still no word from AT&T so I called them and they said the flag problem had been resolved. I asked how I could be compensated for all the wasted time they caused me, misdirection and multiple broken commitments they said "we're not offering any compensation for iPhone problems." The AT&T rep also blamed Apple for all problems and said I should have bought from the AT&T store
12:20PM Arrived at Apple store, got my phones


I find interesting the buzz. It is a pretty device, sure, but it has a number of flaws (keyboard, battery, service providers, reception).

I think I could take all of that if I didn't have to end in a walled garden of apps (30%!) unless you go jailbreak the thing. It's a computer! Since when I can't install my Apps in my computer!

Why do people want it so much? I think it is a reflection of how low the bar is. We surely (as a body of consumers) can do better than that.

Sigh... - eduard/o

Posted by Eduardo Pelegri-Llopart on July 12, 2008 at 02:53 PM EDT #

Anything yet? I was told about the 4 hours for a call last night at 6pm, and I'm still waiting. Called ATT and they still can't see if it's done or not.

Posted by RMS on July 12, 2008 at 05:46 PM EDT #

Eduardo: I agree about the low bar, Phone UIs sucked, but now the handset manufacturers have a fairly high bar to jump.

RMS: No joy! I'll keep on updating this post until I either get my phone or turn into a giant fire breathing lizard.

- Dave

Posted by Dave Johnson on July 12, 2008 at 06:23 PM EDT #

Sorry to hear you had no luck. I'll keep you updated with my progress at well.

Posted by RMS on July 12, 2008 at 06:42 PM EDT #

Yeah, it's on Apple's side because ATT can't fix the issue. How crappy. I'm still waiting for a call. If not, i'll try again before Apple closes tonight. The only thing I notice that is different from yesterday is, if I call 611, they send me to the regular ATT line instead of a Business line. If you use 611, where does it send you?

Posted by RMS on July 12, 2008 at 08:23 PM EDT #

RMS, I still get "small businesses customer services" when I dial 611. You may activation ready.

- Dave

Posted by Dave Johnson on July 12, 2008 at 08:28 PM EDT #

Yeah, this gives me hope. I'll let you know ASAP if it works. Best of luck.

Posted by RMS on July 12, 2008 at 08:35 PM EDT #

I'm in the same boat still waiting for the Billing TIcket. What you can do is call the IRU department phone number 18669073484, they will be able to tell you if the billing ticket is closed or still in process. 611 doesn't know anything about this issue. I live in NJ and I'm going to keep calling because the store at 5th av, NY is open 24 hours.

Posted by David Gomez on July 13, 2008 at 12:40 AM EDT #

Went to the Apple Store at 8pm, and everything worked just fine. I guess they finished everything up, but didn't call me. ATT Sucks, but I got my iPhone. Best of luck.

Posted by RMS on July 13, 2008 at 01:30 AM EDT #

How long it took from the time that you created the Billing ticket and the time that you pickup the phone.

Posted by David Gomez on July 13, 2008 at 01:42 AM EDT #

The got my billing ticket opened at 6pm Friday night. I bought my phone at 8pm last night. But...I got a call from ATT at 945pm last night that my line was fixed and I could go to an apple store and purchase the phone. So about 24hrs or so. If you call 611 and are not directed to a business line, you are probably in the clear. My line could have been ready all day, since I didn't get pushed to business services all day.

Posted by RMS on July 13, 2008 at 02:06 PM EDT #

Call in a few days once the smokes dies down and you can talk to a real CSR, I bet they'll give you some sort of compensation. They should at least waive either the activation, $36 or reactivation $18 fee. I will try mid-week and let you know what they will do (or not do). Really happy to see you got your phone!

Posted by RMS on July 13, 2008 at 05:42 PM EDT #

Sorry to see sun employees blogging proudly about their fanboyism for a phone which does not support java and has no intentions of doing it. Please, eat your own dog food.

Posted by on July 14, 2008 at 11:25 PM EDT #

Oh no! Please tell me more, great and wise Mr. The *only* reason I bought an iPhone is because Sun publicly stated "We'll put Java on the iPhone." If that is not the case, maybe I should buy a Java phone. I think I can still get a refund. Got any recommendations? Which one does Jonathan Schwartz use?

- Love, Dave

Posted by Dave Johnson on July 14, 2008 at 11:25 PM EDT #

The only reason you bought an iphone is because of an optimistic statement by Jonathan? Do you think readers of your blog who include java developers will be in any way be motivated or interested in reading about you wasting your time in the queue for buying the expensive closed standard phone when many of the same capabilities are available for free in java powered phones? Opera Mini
Google Maps
Nimbuzz IM Client
Teashark browser Flurry
Yahoo Go
Even though Jonathan has been trying from past such a long time, Apple hasn't responded. So at least till they support you can show that you care for Sun and java developers by not advertising your fan following for iPhone.

Posted by on July 14, 2008 at 11:25 PM EDT #

You wanted me to suggest a phone for you? Here it is http://blogs.sun.com/jonathan/entry/solaris_on_wall_street_faster#comment-1215107772000 _ Samsung's Instinct: This baby is Java driven and from early reactions will be as popular as Apple's offering. Tried to find some publicity about the instinct here at Sun.com and all I find is this blog. http://blogs.sun.com/hinkmond/entry/ode_to_the_sprint_instinct I have an Instinct and I rarely get amped about gadgets, but this one is an IPOD, TV, Garmin/TomTom w/ voice recognition, Web/Email Client and not to mention a beautifully designed, usable phone at affordable $. Can Sun help drive development on the Instinct much the same way Sprint is doing (http://developer.sprint.com/instinct/). Can someone blog more about Java's mobile capabilities? This phone is a huge endorsement of what Java can do on the mobile platform.

Posted by on July 14, 2008 at 11:58 PM EDT #

Mr., thanks for the phone recommendation and the unsolicited advice on blogging, but I think I'll stick with my iPhone. With Glassfish, Netbeans, OpenSolaris, VirtualBox, OpenOffice, etc. I already eat more than enough Sun dog food. And I'll keep on blogging whatever interests me here on my personal blog; that's what it's for. If you really want more J2ME blogging then go sign up for you own blog and get to work.

- Dave

Posted by Dave Johnson on July 15, 2008 at 03:31 AM EDT #

Post a Comment:
Comments are closed for this entry.

« Updating RSS and... | Main | Sixteen days until... »


This is just one entry in the weblog Blogging Roller. You may want to visit the main page of the weblog

Related entries

Below are the most recent entries in the category General, some may be related to this entry.