Total chaos mars UK iPhone launch

So – you’ve queued in line for hours, coped with chaos at Apple and O2 retail outlets as the iPhone sales systems fail. What else do you need to create the perfect customer experience?

Would you like iTunes to brick up your iPhone 3G when you get it home and try to activate it? Or, failing that, if you are simply attempting to upgrade an older phone with the new software, so you can play with those dozens of applications you downloaded from the App Store yesterday, perhaps you’d also like iTunes to delete everything on your iPhone and leave it unusable?

A little far-fetched? Not at all – it appears iTunes and O2 have managed to arrange one huge slap on the faces of iPhone customers all across the UK. As Macworld UK explains, "what is happening is that people’s existing iPhone’s are being bricked up as users attempt to install the software update. This is because part of the updating process demands iTunes activate the phone."

It appears the servers are unable to keep up with the demand for authorisations through iTunes, leaving many iPhone owners – new and old – facing a bricked, dead and erased mobile device. Though you can make emergency calls on it.

Those who have been able to contact tech support are being asked to remain patient, with O2 saying it has been overwhelmed. "Engineers are looking into it," apparently.

The result is an iPhone stuck in limbo. It’s got the new software on board, but without being activated by Apple’s servers, it’ll only make emergency calls.

This is not a good thing for Apple or for O2 in the highly advanced UK mobile market. We think the people from Nokia, RIM and Palm will be laughing right now.

We hope to use one of our two Apple mobiles some time this weekend. If you are trying to call us, send us an email – our phone is out of action. The UK launch has been a shambles – sure, there has been unprecedented demand, but there’s a point at which companies of the stature of Apple or O2 should stand up and make some kind of explanation for these numerous SNAFU’s, rather than demanding their customers exercise the tolerance of the Buddha himself.


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