OK, so I got an iPhone… still waiting to use it - Macenstein

OK, so I got an iPhone… still waiting to use it

Posted by Dr. Macenstein

Let me first say that I in NO way fell victim to the iPhone hype-machine. I bought this purely for journalistic reasons.

(Anyone buying that?)

OK, well the real reason is, I fell, and I fell hard. Plus, I knew none of the other deadbeats here would get one, so if anyone at Macenstein was going to drop $600 on a gadget that combines 2 gadgets we all already own, it had to be the guy with a day job.

Above: My iPhone patiently waiting to activate. Not pictured, ME, impatiently waiting for my iPhone to activate.

I bought mine around 1PM at the Short Hills, NJ Apple Store. The store was doing a very brisk business, especially considering how nice a day it was. I’d say in my half hour there I counted about 30 iPhones sold, or roughly 1 a minute, which ain’t too shabby for day 2.

As for my initial impressions, well, they are mainly of disappointment. Not in the iPhone, but in the fact that after activating the iPhone via iTunes at 2 PM, I have still not finished the activation process as of 10 PM.

After finishing the iTunes activation process, I was presented with a screen which read “Your activation requires additional time to complete. You will receive an email confirmation sent to —- once your activation is complete.” I thought this was a little lame, as I am already an AT&T wireless customer, just basically adding the $20 data plan to my existing account, but whatever.

As for my hands on with the iPhone in the Short Hills Apple Store, I was both amazed and worried. What amazed me was the speed and responsiveness of the interface. I knew immediately I was going to be playing with this thing all day just tapping and scrolling until the battery died. It was like giving a 5-month old baby a pair of shiny car keys to play with.

Above: At least I got the cool bag to play with while I wait.

What worried me, though, was while playing with the iPhone, I noticed that when attempting to access any web page, the iPhone would load about 90% of it, then crap out, and bounce out of Safari and back to the main menu screen. It did this on a couple sites, and when I pointed it out the sales girl, she tried another demo unit which did the same thing. Pages were also loading pretty slowly, given that we should have been in a pretty robust Wi-Fi zone. She later caught up to me while I was in line buying my iPhone (obviously even the iPhone’s main selling point not working correctly did not deter me from buying one) , and explained that the reason web pages were not working and the network was slow was that AT&T was crashing under the activation load. I asked why that would affect Wi-Fi connections, and she said, well, that’s what they told her. So we’ll see, if and when this alleged activation e-mail shows up. At least the long delay helps lend credence to her report of AT&T being overwhelmed with activations, thus causing network trouble. Sounds like Apple is moving a lot of these after all!

[UPDATE: Midnight Saturday and still no activation e-mail yet.]

[UPDATE 2: 9:30 AM Sunday and still no activation e-mail yet.]

[UPDATE 3: I just spent a half hour on hold (after getting disconnected after waiting close to an hour on hold) before getting through to the AT&T iPhone activation line. The rep there said I need an order confirmation number in order for him to help activate the iPhone. Obviously, iTunes did not give me one yet via e-mail. He suggested I call customer service to obtain a number. I called the number he gave, and it turns out they are closed today. So I supposed I will just continue to wait, and wish Apple chose Verizon.]

[UPDATE 4: 12:30 PM Sunday and still no activation e-mail yet.]

[UPDATE 5: 2:00 PM Sunday. I called and was told my account was hung up because it did not qualify for the iPhone. Apparently I had been getting a $10 a month credit for service, and that screwed up the computers. Of course, it would have been nice to have received an e-mail alerting me there was trouble and asking me to call, but at least, 24 hours later, I am now “on the right track” as the AT&T rep said. Now I assume my wait time is starting over, and those first 24 hours don’t count.

[UPDATE 6: 9:30 PM Sunday and still no activation e-mail yet.]

[UPDATE 7: 9:35 PM Sunday. Called the reps again and was told I an in the queue, and the current wait is 24 hours. They can’t tell me where I am in the queue, but it should be less than 24 hours. AWESOME!]

[UPDATE 8: 7:00 AM Monday and still no activation e-mail yet.]

[UPDATE 8: 9:30 AM Monday. I just called AT&T, and I don’t even want to tell you want is happening…]

[UPDATE 8: 8:00 PM Monday. I have made 2 trips to the AT&T store (actually 2 different stores), the last trip was nearly 2 hours. However, I now have a working iPhone. Hooray for me. I suggest anyone who does not get an activation e-mail within about 15 minutes of attempting to activate the iphone call ATT. The problem on my end stemmed from having an OLD ATT account, pre-cingular, and there were a million reasons they came up with why that wa a problem. The long and the short of it is that eventually they were able to upgrade the 2 lines on my family plan to a current ATT plan, and then they gave me a brand new SIM card to try to cactivate at home. Once everything was set with my rate plans from the store, activating with a new SIM card via iTunes at home was indeed as easy as Apple claims. It took about 5 minutes. (Well, 5 minutes and 2 days or getting the runaround from ATT). I would love to blame this soley on ATT, but in reality the fact that Apple demands to handle all activations is the route of this problem.

Oh, and one final bit of knowledge to pass along. If you call or go to an ATT store looking for a iPhone family plan, the lowest they will show you is a 700 minute plan for $80 plus an extra line. There is a cheaper 550 minute plan for $59.99 (plus $20 for iPhone data) that qualifies, but you have to ask for it. That’s what I’m on.

8 Responses to “OK, so I got an iPhone… still waiting to use it”
  1. e:leaf says:

    I wouldn’t hold my breath. I’ve been waiting for 29 hours now, and, like you, I am existing AT&T customer. You can follow my trials and tribulations (all 29 hours of them) at http://www.macademic.net

    I hope that AT&T/ Apple gets this fixed really soon, as thi sisn’t a great show on either part. In fact, it’s downright piss poor, and not at all what I expect from Apple when dealing with their premier product.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Why didn’t you ask the genius bar why it would affect wi-fi connections?

  3. JKB says:

    It is unfortunate that Apple had to tie up with a loser company like AT&T. It’s not like the upsurge wasn’t anticipated. But the actual cell company really didn’t matter, the cell industry is about milking customers and not about providing a great product or service. On the otherhand perhaps some cell company will see the light and move into the future where great product and service brings in serious profit.

    I wonder what the iPhone would cost without the lock in? I believe people would pay it even if it was double. Hell, dump the phone part and just provide a WiFi enabled super iPod.

  4. Anonymous,

    The sales girl was gone for 10 minutes inquiring, so I assumed she asked any and everybody who would know. I doubt at this point the geniuses know anything more about network issues than the managers anyway, and odds are they would give the same company line about heavy network load.

    -The Doc

  5. Anonymous says:

    I bought an iPhone and mine was activated in literally like 5 mins. I wonder if the people having the problems are the ones who are porting a number.

  6. shawn says:

    i was having the same problem as you. late last nite i called AT&T’s number listed on the iTunes page and talked to a very nice rep who said i needed to go to a AT&T corporate store and pay a deposit. went in this morning they had me up and running in less then 20 minutes..minus an outrageous deposit!

    it would have been nice if an email would have been sent telling me that!

  7. Carin says:

    sounds outrageous, when we set up the iPhone it look maybe 15minutes.
    ATT&T should get their customer satisfaction on point.

  8. Paul Biba says:

    I wonder if we are suffering a New Jersey problem. I got mine on Saturday morning at Bridgewater Commons and I, also, still have no activation as of 10am on Monday. For your info, I’m a current AT&T customer and am not porting a number.

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