iPhone: Let the Good Times -- Stop

Last Updated Jul 11, 2008 5:08 PM EDT

Wormy AppleWhen the first iPhone came out, there were problems galore with people getting their systems activated. So you'd think that after looking clumsy, Apple would make sure it got things right this time. But they didn't. There are various reports of problems already hitting the blogosphere, like Bijan Sabet waiting for hours and still being unable to activate a 2.0 model. Engadget reports that the iTunes activation servers went down.
In related news, those updating their first-gen iPhone to 2.0 are also getting caught in the activation shuffle, leaving some with bricked iPhones. In our test case, the activation servers came back up after about 45 minutes just long enough to get 2.0 running on our first-gen iPhone, but not all have been so lucky.
And all this mess is after some people had been waiting since Thursday afternoon.
These problems aren't just limited to the US, or to Apple's partner carriers either. Ars writer Iljitsch van Beijnum is still waiting in line at a Telefónica store in Madrid, despite being physically inside the store for at least an hour and a half now. Iljitsch also pointed us to a post by iPhoneclub.nl that reports T-Mobile stores in the Netherlands are turning customers away because the activation system is down. And, according to TUAW, Apple retail stores have lost connectivity with the iTunes activation system as well.
Because the problem is happening with multiple carriers, you can't blame anyone other than Apple, and that's a shame. Here's a company that stakes its brand not just on being cool, but on being friendly to users. So much for Steve Jobs thinking that the iPhone could be a new computing platform. Or maybe he's assuming that the race to the top is to give people a worse experience than Vista does. It's fine to have a faithful following, but it's not enough to be hot in high tech - you have to be good, as well. The last thing you want a customer to have is an unpleasant surprise.

Wormy Apple image via Flickr user Yogi, CC 2.0

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    Erik Sherman is a widely published writer and editor who also does select ghosting and corporate work. The views expressed in this column belong to Sherman and do not represent the views of CBS Interactive. Follow him on Twitter at @ErikSherman or on Facebook.