Possibly the worst public relations nightmare in internet history occurred yesterday. Hardcore fans wanting to buy the new iPhone 3G camped out over night, and in some cases for days, to be the first to get their hands on the new, sexy, shiny device from their perfect company, Apple.
What they got was unexpected. They got iFail, as it’s been called some places or iPocalypse as it’s been called other places. One person I talked to who worked in an Apple Store in Pennsylvania said that maybe 1 out of every six iPhones successfully were activated yesterday. In some cases, the ability to communicate with AT&T caused an incomplete software load, turning the phone into a cold, dead device.
MG Siegeler at Venture Beat hints at a conspiracy theory, whereby Apple can pin the problem on AT&T and opt-out of a contract.
The conspiracy has merit. Apple has not been happy with AT&T since the June 26 launch of iPhone 1.0 last year. At some point, Apple started realizing that an exclusive contract with AT&T was a failure, especially for those people in Canada who couldn’t get AT&T. Thus the unlocked iPhone trend began under Apple sanctioning. People could buy, for a much higher price, an iPhone that was not locked into the AT&T network and activate it with any compatible carrier. There’s merit to the conspiracy because Apple marketing is a precision machine that knows exactly how to communicate a message without sweating it. They could easily create a conspiracy and wash their hands clean of it at the same time. It doesn’t help that they are tight-lipped about everything. Everything!
You know what they say – if it looks like you’re hiding something, you probably are.
But now, let me throw some cold water on this conspiracy theory. You can’t blame AT&T when every other authorized carrier encountered the same problem. Rogers, in Canada, experienced a botched launch in their debut as an authorized iPhone Carrier. O2, the authorized carrier in the UK, had problems.
Don’t buy into the hype, I’d say. This seems to be Apple’s problem.
And frankly, this is why I will never stand in line to wait for any product from Apple. It’s not that I don’t love Apple. I do. I have an iPod and a Macbook Pro. My router is not a Linksys, it’s an Airport Extreme. My wife owns a Macbook. Trust me, we’re Apple nuts around here. But somedays, I think I’m the only one with any intelligence. Why would you buy a product from this company on the first day? Never do that. Never, ever.
At least now I feel vindicated in saying that. No one needs an iPhone that bad to have to get it on the first day. No one. It will be there next week after the kinks are worked out.