It has not been a good day for Apple. Actually, let me rephrase that - it has not been a good day for Apple customers. Here in the UK supplies of the Jesus Phone, the all new iPhone 3G, were scarce to say the least. Those people who did brave the early morning queues and get their hands on a handset were soon finding themselves coming down from the temporary high as they tried to activate the devices.
The same problem has apparently been hitting iPhone 3G users the world over. Indeed, in the US an AT&T spokesman admitted there was a problem with the Apple iTunes servers which was preventing the handsets from being properly activated before leaving the stores.
Some people have been told to go home and try the last step in the process there, although they are not having much luck either as the iTunes servers have simply buckled under the strain.
The same problem has hit users of earlier iPhones who wanted to upgrade, for free, to the new version 2.0 software in order to take advantage of the Apps Store and its third party software downloads. While the upgrade went OK for most folk, eventually, not so the final step: are-activating the handset. So Apple is in that wonderfully ironic situation of effectively bricking their own users for upgrading their handsets with official software.
iTouch owners did not even get as far as the software upgrade. Many have reported being told that there is an upgrade available but when clicking the update button in iTunes being told that the iTunes Store is not available. A situation that has lasted since first thing this morning. Of course, iTouch owners do not even get the upgrade for free, it is a $10 cost item. Not that it matters, because nobody can get it anyway. Some users are reporting that after being told the iTunes Server is not available a few times iTunes then insists that the iTouch software already installed is the latest version (1.1.4) and that it will check again for any updates in seven days time!
Seriously, could Apple have screwed this up any more? It is no use saying that 'there has been a lot of demand' or 'of course it will be busy today' is it? After all, this is a huge company with huge resources we are talking about. This is a company which did not decide last week to do this launch or this upgrade a few days ago, it has had months and months to plan for the likely demand.
This is a company which, to be brutally honest, has given the impression today that it really does not give a fig about its customers, new or old, and only cares about grabbing your money. If this was Microsoft the web would have exploded under the heat of the flaming, as it is Apple seems to be getting off relatively lightly so far.