There's one problem with having a ridiculously successful product that sells hundreds of thousands of pre-orders before it even comes out in stores. That problem is never being quite ready for the sheer deluge of people trying to use your product. At least, we're assuming this is a problem endemic to successful products like the iPhone. Last year's 3G launch was plagued with breaking networks and phones that wouldn't work out-of-the-box due to AT&T server issues, and the same thing is happening again this year.
Reports are coming in from all over, all claiming the same issue. Customers are finding themselves unable to activate their new iPhones immediately due to the massive deluge of new 3GS owners. Warning messages on iTunes inform users that, due to request volume, their activation may take up to 48 hours to go through.
Of course, you can still check out all of the iPhone features that don't require a network to access. Let's face it though; a smartphone without a network isn't much better than a pretty brick that can take pictures. This is a huge issue for the hundreds of thousands of consumers who paid for, and deserve to be able to use, their new iPhones. AT&T has dropped the ball once again despite having ample warning from last year's launch.
It could just be that a launch like the iPhone is too damn big to go off seamlessly. When you've got probably close to a million new phones being sold and activated inside of three days you're looking at an enormous strain on your network. It could be that it just isn't possible right now to ensure a launch of this size doesn't encounter any issues. Or, and this is more likely, it could be that AT&T didn't prepare their infrastructure properly for the launch and ended up screwing thousands of customers over as a result.
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