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Server problems spoil Apple's iPhone 3G launch

post #1 of 127
Thread Starter 
Apple Inc.'s iPhone 3G roll-out has quickly shifted from the much ballyhooed consumer electronics launch of the year into a nightmare for both the company and its loyal customers.

Thousands of new iPhone 3G buyers around the world were stuck Friday with iPhones that couldn't function or make calls, as the iTunes servers required to fully activate them experienced a high-tech meltdown and ultimately fell offline.

The issues almost immediately soured the US launch of the much anticipated handset, as the backlog of activations kept thousands of other customers waiting in long lines outside of retail stores much longer than they or Apple had anticipated.

What's more, the problems trickled down to first-generation iPhone owners who were attempting to upgrade their devices with version 2.0 software, also released Friday. Unlike previous updates, the 2.0 release completely wipes all data from first-generation iPhones and deactivates them before performing the upgrade.

After installation, the phones are required to connect to Apple's iTunes servers for reactivation -- the same servers that had fallen offline due to requests for new iPhone 3G activations. As such, existing iPhone owners attempting to update their software were also left with phones that were "bricked" and unable to function outside of calling emergency lines.

The issues may be a result of Apple underestimating the number of simultaneous worldwide connections to its iTunes servers during the iPhone 3G launch, a problem that wasn't helped by the simultaneous release of new software updates for existing owners that must also access the same servers.

Unlike last year, when the Cupertino-based company launched its first-generation iPhone exclusively in the U.S. and then later followed up with successive roll outs in a handful of European countries, this year's launch kicked-off in 21 countries over the course of 24 hours.

Attempting to stifle the grey market for iPhones that were being purchased in the U.S., then unlocked and resold overseas at higher prices, Apple also did away with home activation, mandating that each and every new iPhone 3G sold in the U.S. be fully activated before it leaves the store.

Apple has also been experiencing a number of problems getting its new set of "MobileMe" online tools up and running. The $99 per year "push" email and calendar service launched early Thursday morning but was still facing a large number of issues outside of email as of Friday afternoon.
post #2 of 127
after mobileme crashed, i think apple should have predicted this
I also think it was stupid that the software update and iphone activation use the same server
post #3 of 127
I'm not even getting the error message anymore when I try to update my touch.
post #4 of 127
"Attempting to stifle the grey market for iPhones that were being purchased in the U.S., then unlocked and resold overseas at higher prices, Apple also did away with home activation of the handsets this time around, mandating that each and every new iPhone 3G sold in the U.S. be fully activate before it leaves the store."

Care to attribute this? If Apple sells the units, why should it care if they are unlocked or not? It seems as if AT&T has much more of vested interest in this...
post #5 of 127
They should released 2.0 to existing users first...why did they wait. More importantly why didnt they realize this could happen.
Im soooo pissed.

My iPhone is dead....and I cant make any calls.

Who is up for a little something from Apple to compensate us.
post #6 of 127
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post


The issues appear to be a result of Apple underestimating the number of simultaneous worldwide connections to its iTunes servers during the iPhone 3G, a problem that wasn't helped by the simultaneous release of new software updates for existing owners.

I don't believe this for a second. Since Apple controls the whole process and knows exactly how many stores would be selling the 3G phone and how many activations will be occurring at each store, they would have known exactly the anticipated load. I think the reason for the screw up lies elsewhere and Apple is hiding behind the "unanticipated demand" cover story.
post #7 of 127
Quote:
Originally Posted by skottichan View Post

I'm not even getting the error message anymore when I try to update my touch.

Same here!
I've been trying to update my iTouch for 6 hours now and sometimes it tells me that i can't connect to the iTunes store for an unknown error, others its a problem with my network. But at the moment it is saying that 1.1.4 is the current software and i'm not even getting the error message.
I think maybe i and other people should try not to constantly click on "check for update", as this may slow the process down even further.
I still think it's terrible that everything is run on the same server!!!!

Jono
post #8 of 127
Yes...that makes sense.
post #9 of 127
Quote:
Originally Posted by DestructoTex View Post

"Attempting to stifle the grey market for iPhones that were being purchased in the U.S., then unlocked and resold overseas at higher prices, Apple also did away with home activation of the handsets this time around, mandating that each and every new iPhone 3G sold in the U.S. be fully activate before it leaves the store."

Care to attribute this? If Apple sells the units, why should it care if they are unlocked or not? It seems as if AT&T has much more of vested interest in this...

Attribute it to what? This is pretty much a fact. Apple has to protect its partner, AT&T, which is paying Apple more than the $199 and $299 subsidized prices. Yes, you're right in that, given informed analyst speculation on how Apple's iPhone 3G agreement is set up with AT&T, it's AT&T that stands to loose the most if the new phones are unlocked and imported overseas. But Apple has a moral and contractual obligation to help prevent this from happening.

K
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post #10 of 127
Glad I did my iPhone 2.0 upgrade yesterday when the sneaky link was posted.
I managed to download the updater and do the install and activation in minutes.
It is the same build as well so looks like it was the correct link.
I have been playing Super Monkey Ball and the ace Bejewelled 2 which is just stunning.
The Push mail servers only just appear to have come to life and you can now access the new Web Apps at www.me.com even though the www.mac.com still says they are down!
post #11 of 127
Maybe Apple just go next door and ask Google for some sugar aka. some servers I know it doesn't work like that, but it is just a funny visual.

This thing is frustrating because I some apps just sitting and waiting to be downloaded onto my touch, but hey its just a piece of software.
post #12 of 127
Just finally got my new iphone working. around 3PM EST, after trying for 5 hours!!!! But I'm glad I'm done with the hassle
post #13 of 127
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

Attempting to stifle the grey market for iPhones that were being purchased in the U.S., then unlocked and resold overseas at higher prices, Apple also did away with home activation, mandating that each and every new iPhone 3G sold in the U.S. be fully activated before it leaves the store.

Not entirely. Home activation is the fallback procedure being used by at least some stores.

I just activated my 3G iPhone at home. The first attempt timed out but the second completed with no problem.
post #14 of 127
Quote:
Originally Posted by parky View Post

Glad I did my iPhone 2.0 upgrade yesterday when the sneaky link was posted.
I managed to download the updater and do the install and activation in minutes.
It is the same build as well so looks like it was the correct link.
I have been playing Super Monkey Ball and the ace Bejewelled 2 which is just stunning.
The Push mail servers only just appear to have come to life and you can now access the new Web Apps at www.me.com even though the www.mac.com still says they are down!

Have you notice that the camera app is much slower now after the update?

K
EIC- AppleInsider.com
Questions and comments to : kasper@appleinsider.com
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post #15 of 127
2008 is the year when Apple F**ked up virtually everything, from delivering less iPhone features than expected, to Mobile-Me launch problems, to major Leopard 10.5.3 problems, to the embarrassing ongoing Leopard Server problems, and now to this iTunes overload problem during their big iPhone release.

I don't know what's going on, but since Apple has gotten into the iPhone market their Macs and their Quality Control has taken a stupendous hit. Gosh I don't remember Microsoft having that much bad-luck all at once!
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post #16 of 127
Hi, here in Mexico City, since 9:00 AM this friday mobile me was up and running, a little bit slow though. As for iphone, no way i'm getting it due to the high costs telcel, the mexican carrier, has set.
post #17 of 127
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kasper View Post

Have you notice that the camera app is much slower now after the update?

K

I didn't, as I don't have the update yet, but that's plausible if it now geotags all your photos... when you first start using it it will presumably need to wait a few seconds until it manages to get a lock on your position (whether via cell towers or GPS).

-Rolf
post #18 of 127
Its actually nice to see that AT&T had nothing to do with todays hiccups. I cant believe that Apple dev couldnt accurately predict the amount of server traffic and I completely agree with the other post asking why did these two key components run on the same server.
iTunes unbricking for 3G customers is now back up for anyone trying to tether from home.
post #19 of 127
Quote:
Originally Posted by bloggerblog View Post

2008 is the year when Apple F**ked up virtually everything, from delivering less iPhone features than expected, to Mobile-Me launch problems, to major Leopard 10.5.3 problems, to the embarrassing ongoing Leopard Server problems, and now to this iTunes overload problem during their big iPhone release.

I don't know what's going on, but since Apple has gotten into the iPhone market their Macs and their Quality Control has taken a stupendous hit. Gosh I don't remember Microsoft having that much bad-luck all at once!

What, did you sleep through the Zune bombs? How about the $1 Billion 360 red ring of death? How about the total failure of acceptance by the business world of Vista? Oh, and how about the neat upgrade path that Balmer announced, you know, where you can upgrade from Vista to XP?
post #20 of 127
Quote:
Originally Posted by Axolotl View Post

Hi, here in Mexico City, since 9:00 AM this friday mobile me was up and running, a little bit slow though. As for iphone, no way i'm getting it due to the high costs telcel, the mexican carrier, has set.

I've got friends living in GDL and DF and said that they were be able to use prepaid for the iPhone. How true is that?
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post #21 of 127
A true iDisaster! Was on line at an AT&T store on Long Island and waited for 7 hours but was unable to buy one, even though they had them in stock. The lines were not long and we were told they had enough for everyone in the line. Then they stopped allowing people to purchase the phones because they could not get them activated. In addition they told people they don't advice standing in line because they weren't sure when the system would be back up since the problem was on Apples end, what a rotten apple!
post #22 of 127
Gee... sounds like Blizzard launching World of Warcraft back in 04.
post #23 of 127
Quote:
Originally Posted by DimMok View Post

They should released 2.0 to existing users first...why did they wait. More importantly why didnt they realize this could happen.
Im soooo pissed.

My iPhone is dead....and I cant make any calls.

Who is up for a little something from Apple to compensate us.

Some free apps would be nice (the ones that actually cost money)
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post #24 of 127
Fingers crossed my iPhone will finally start working after being bricked for 5 hours!
post #25 of 127
Quote:
Originally Posted by applefrenzy View Post

I don't believe this for a second. Since Apple controls the whole process and knows exactly how many stores would be selling the 3G phone and how many activations will be occurring at each store, they would have known exactly the anticipated load. I think the reason for the screw up lies elsewhere and Apple is hiding behind the "unanticipated demand" cover story.

I agree. It is impossible to believe that Apple didn't realize they would have this volume of people accessing iTunes this morning. Having the iPhone version 1 update officially go live at the same time is unconscionable.* Granted, there is a bit of hindsight here, but really--they seem to have been asking for this black eye.

*OK, unconscionable is probably the wrong word. How about idiotic? lame brained? Ballmeresque?
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post #26 of 127
Quote:
Originally Posted by DimMok View Post

They should released 2.0 to existing users first...why did they wait. More importantly why didnt they realize this could happen.
Im soooo pissed.

My iPhone is dead....and I cant make any calls.

Who is up for a little something from Apple to compensate us.

They actually released the update yesterday for edge iphone users, but ipod touch users could not use it because we would have to wait until today and pay $9.99 for it, but now apple has completely shut down there update servers and iTunes tells me that 1.1.4 is the current verison when i try to update
post #27 of 127
I was hesitent to move to 2.0 until just before the article here warned users to wait. It was too late to stop it and then it went straight to activation and had no hang ups at all! Yea!
post #28 of 127
Quote:
Originally Posted by jono95 View Post

Same here!
I've been trying to update my iTouch for 6 hours now and sometimes it tells me that i can't connect to the iTunes store for an unknown error, others its a problem with my network. But at the moment it is saying that 1.1.4 is the current software and i'm not even getting the error message.
I think maybe i and other people should try not to constantly click on "check for update", as this may slow the process down even further.
I still think it's terrible that everything is run on the same server!!!!

Jono

Hell, at least your at that point. I still can't plug my iPod Touch into my Mac without it locking up (after iTunes launches)!

Skip
post #29 of 127
Predicting network traffic isn't the only part of surviving this sort of thing. All it takes is some unexpected hardware failures, or other odd variables coming into play -- a very real issue when scaling to something like this, a scenario with demands quite unlike what was known before -- and everything can start to fall apart. I'll wager this is what happened in the background at Apple.

This is why I didn't go to get an iPhone today. There was bound to be some kind of trouble or another, while people who walk in later this weekend, or next week, are probably going to have a great experience. Apple just needs some time to sort everything out.

I am surprised that they launched everything simultaneously though. That was just asking for trouble. At least they should have made 2.0 available a day or two prior to balance the load. I'll wager, though, that this was a corporate decision. The only likely alternative would have been to make 2.0 available after the launch. I imagine Apple wanted the 2.0 experience to be known only on the launch date of the new iPhone.

That they did it all at once, though... it makes me think they did have a pretty solid system in place. It is more likely that some unexpected developments brought about this trouble than a simple lack of planning on Apple's part.
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post #30 of 127
So how big is this thread going to get with privileged people complaining.

Apple sured screwed up your life and wasted your time. I hope they find away to compensate you. Your wounds need the soothing touch of a refund or a credit or a spaghetti dinner made by steve.

I mean really. How dare they not be able to handle the request of 2 million people at the same time. And then make you wait before you can run your mouth or play business. I mean, they should have known that this was going to happen. They did it on purpose. I think they just want your money.

Shame on Apple. Shame on them!
post #31 of 127
Apple and AT&T have to be taken to task for this, Apple moreso, because they messed up MobileMe as well.

They both learned nothing from last year, Apple talks big, but they should've put their profits into buying more activation servers, either that, or people are simply going to have to put up with it (which will be the case). I wonder if they'll get it right, next year.
post #32 of 127
Quote:
Originally Posted by bloggerblog View Post

2008 is the year when Apple F**ked up virtually everything, from delivering less iPhone features than expected, to Mobile-Me launch problems, to major Leopard 10.5.3 problems, to the embarrassing ongoing Leopard Server problems, and now to this iTunes overload problem during their big iPhone release.

I don't know what's going on, but since Apple has gotten into the iPhone market their Macs and their Quality Control has taken a stupendous hit. Gosh I don't remember Microsoft having that much bad-luck all at once!

I really have to laugh about all the iDisaster and iDoom posts. This launch is so huge that Apple could not have accurately tested its infrastructure to handle the load. I'm sure they had estimates and did a lot of forecasting but actually knowing how the system and process will perform under extreme conditions is a different story.

I understand that not having access to paid services such as MobileMe and your awesome new iPhone is frustrating but I think some patients and understanding are in order. And there is no way that Apple's mistakes can be compared to Microsoft's blunders. I wanted to update my iPod Touch but was unable to because of all the server issues. Its a bummer but nothing to get angry about. I'll just try later tonight or tomorrow.

And let the flaming begin...
post #33 of 127
Quote:
Originally Posted by parky View Post

Glad I did my iPhone 2.0 upgrade yesterday when the sneaky link was posted.
I managed to download the updater and do the install and activation in minutes.
It is the same build as well so looks like it was the correct link.
I have been playing Super Monkey Ball and the ace Bejewelled 2 which is just stunning.
The Push mail servers only just appear to have come to life and you can now access the new Web Apps at www.me.com even though the www.mac.com still says they are down!

If you got it yesterday you do not have the correct 2.0 software. The upgrade we all did covertly yesterday turns out to be for 3G only. You will need to restore through iTunes to get the real update. The correct update makes the 1rst generation iPhone much zippier than the 3G version.
"Some of us are decent people who want to stay out of the emergency room, but still
blast through neo-gridlock traffic in residential districts whenever we feel like it....
For that we need fine...
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"Some of us are decent people who want to stay out of the emergency room, but still
blast through neo-gridlock traffic in residential districts whenever we feel like it....
For that we need fine...
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post #34 of 127
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bowser View Post

Yep, just a no-life stupid Windoze troll...

Hey! Chillout, that was very inappropriate. FYI I've been an Apple user since 1980.
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post #35 of 127
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kasper View Post

Attribute it to what? This is pretty much a fact. Apple has to protect its partner, AT&T, which is paying Apple more than the $199 and $299 subsidized prices. Yes, you're right in that, given informed analyst speculation on how Apple's iPhone 3G agreement is set up with AT&T, it's AT&T that stands to loose the most if the new phones are unlocked and imported overseas. But Apple has a moral and contractual obligation to help prevent this from happening.

K

You're the man, Kasper, but I've never seen anywhere that it was Apple's decision to mandate in-store activation.

But if you say it's so, then maybe it is...
post #36 of 127
Quote:
Originally Posted by skottichan View Post

How about the $1 Billion 360 red ring of death?

I am afraid that Apple has followed Microsoft's idiotic path on that one.

Microsoft tried to save "tens" of millions of dollars by designing the chipset themselves (which they have no expertise in) --- cost them a billion dollars in the long run.

Apple just bought a chipset company (mainly for their engineers) --- I can just see them trying to save "ten" of millions of dollars by designing the chipset themselves.
post #37 of 127
Quote:
Originally Posted by kjgienapp View Post

I really have to laugh about all the iDisaster and iDoom posts. This launch is so huge that Apple could not have accurately tested its infrastructure to handle the load. I'm sure they had estimates and did a lot of forecasting but actually knowing how the system and process will perform under extreme conditions is a different story.

Apple screwed the pooch on this one, plain and simple. There is no reason to simultaneously release an upgrade for 1rst generation iPhone/iPodTouch owners along with the roll-out of the 3G iPhone. Their servers could barely handle this last year and that was with a few hundred thousand people that bought iPhones that first weekend. Now they have millions in circulation and they were hoping for a similar, though slightly reduced, weekend of sales for the 3G. That doesn't even take the iPodTouch people into account. Now Apple is getting skewered in the press as having "software" problems even though it is a server problem. Just piss-poor planning. No need to be an Apple-apologist on this one. They screwed up big time!
"Some of us are decent people who want to stay out of the emergency room, but still
blast through neo-gridlock traffic in residential districts whenever we feel like it....
For that we need fine...
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"Some of us are decent people who want to stay out of the emergency room, but still
blast through neo-gridlock traffic in residential districts whenever we feel like it....
For that we need fine...
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post #38 of 127
Picked up mine about 8:45am Pacific time today from ATT. ATT rep at the store told me we'd have to activate it at home using iTunes. I let my phone sit connected to iTunes for about an hour and it finally managed to activate itself. It seems if you just leave it alone, it will continuously try to activate itself provided you don't lick OK on the error message (seemed that way to me anyway).

Though the iTunes store seems to be a bit slow still (trying to purchase apps, login, etc).
post #39 of 127
Is anyone having any trouble with moving mail to other mailboxes.
Whenever I try to move mail into another mailbox I get a message box saying the message couldn't be moved.
I'm using Yahoo mail. I could move messages prior to updating to 2.0, and mass moving of messages is a new feature.
What's happening here?
post #40 of 127
I have been purchasing Apple products since 1991. My first Mac was a Classic. I purchased a new iMac when they were recently refreshed. I received two faulty iMacs in a row that I had to return and the third I had to reinstall the OS before it worked correctly. My iPhone 1.0 is only seven months old and is already having battery problems. Today's release of iPhone 2.0 has been a failure to say the least. My concern is that this may be Apple's new way of operating and it reminds me too much of many of the Windows compatible products. Just thinking out loud.
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