Top 5 3G iPhone Launch Moments

It was a big day for Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL), AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T), and other carriers worldwide as the 3G iPhone finally arrived. This meant an early morning for the thousands who lined up to be the first with the new 3G touchscreen gizmo. To recap the action, Unstrung runs down some highlights -- and low points -- of the day:

1. Activation anxiety
A "****ing disaster" as one of Unstrung's British friends so charmingly put it, this was the big issue for Apple and its carrier partners on launch day. Many could not get their phones activated, while others could not download applications to their brand spanking new device.

Reports initially emerged from the U.K. this morning about the activation problems. Unstrung heard anecdotal evidence that U.K. iPhone buyers could not activate their new devices through the Apple site. Evidence continued to surface through the day of device and application issues.

What is causing these problems is not exactly clear yet. (See O2 Blames Apple.)

2. "Dennis, there are some lovely lines over here..."
The average wait times for those who wanted to be the first on their block with a 3G iPhone in NYC this morning was between two and three hours. People that started queueing at the Soho Apple store at 7:00 were approaching the entrance at 9:00. Similar wait times were common in the U.K. Lines, however, were smaller and moved noticabley faster at the AT&T stores in the Big -- ahem -- Apple.

Want to see more lines? Click on the word "Shows" inside the media player below to see the rollicking slideshow compiled by Unstrung reporters and Light Reading staff in the U.K. and across the U.S.:

3. Dude, where's my phone? (Hint: coming tomorrow)
The AT&T store at Ridgmar Mall in Fort Worth, Texas, found that it had been supplied 40 of the new 3G iPhones, meaning that it had to turn away potential customers even as the store opened. We wonder how many times this happy scene was replicated across smaller towns in the U.S.? We also wonder how many people know that at Ridgmar, for instance, they're getting 40 more 3G iPhones tomorrow -- so they're kind of milking this whole stand-in-line thing?

4. Mucho misinformation
You could activate the iPhone at Apple stores, at least according to the folks at the door, despite earlier reports that AT&T would have to activate the phone.

Meanwhile, your humble correspondent was asked by several people if they could buy an unlocked phone at the Apple store. Even if they could, the new phones are subsidized by AT&T and there are hardly any other compatible 3G markets run by GSM rival T-Mobile US Inc. stateside. AT&T eventually intends to launch an unlocked version for a cool $600. (See Apple Peels Away iPhone Costs.)

5. 3G iPhone brings joy to all


— Dan Jones, Site Editor, Unstrung

Larry, Monkey 12/5/2012 | 3:36:49 PM
re: Top 5 3G iPhone Launch Moments Losers. All.
DCITDave 12/5/2012 | 3:36:48 PM
re: Top 5 3G iPhone Launch Moments What's really amazing is that there's no shortage, at all, and yet folks still had to be first in line to get a 3G iPhone.

People are acting as though the phones are going to be a rarity, but the stores say they'll have plenty of stock tomorrow, more the next day, and so on.

Did surviving The Great Wii Wait of 2008 cause folks to act so strangely?
NightTrain 12/5/2012 | 3:36:46 PM
re: Top 5 3G iPhone Launch Moments "What is causing these problems is not exactly clear yet."

It's actually quite clear what happened. For the last year or so, Apple and AT&T have been using Synchronoss to activate first generation iPhones. They chose not to use Synchronoss for the introduction of the 3G phones. Clearly, it didn't work out.

A little diligence would have uncovered this pretty quickly.
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