The launch of Apple's hotly anticipated iPhone 3G turned into an IT meltdown today, as customers were unable to get their new phones working. A global problem with Apple's iTunes servers prevented the phones from being activated in-store, as planned. Employees implored buyers to perform the last step on their own computers, but iTunes servers were equally hard to reach from home, leaving the phones unusable except for emergency calls.
"It's such grief and aggravation," said Frederick Smalls, an insurance broker in Whitman, Mass., after spending two hours on the phone with Apple and AT&T. The problem extended to owners of the previous iPhone model. A software update released for that phone this morning required the phone to be reactivated through iTunes, too.