iPhone 3G Craze Leaves Me Dazed and Unfulfilled

At 7 a.m. this morning I arrived at the AT&T store in Friendship Heights (Washington, D.C.). There were approximately 30 to 40 people already in line. By 8 A.M. the doors opened and customers began getting their new iPhones. There was one little problem: nobody was leaving the store. I waited in line with a number of other people who were waiting to purchased their spanking new 3G iPhone and we continued to wait as 6 to 8 people left the store in the first hour and a half.

I figured I would be there until noon at the rate I was going. I came pretty close. What had happened was that Apple’s activation servers were not functioning and customers were simply waiting for requests to go through. While I didn’t ask the first customers if they left activated, I have a feeling that the first few did which is why it took them over an hour to checkout.

What happened to me was unfortunate and most likely irregular. I was forced to get a third phone line (yes, I already have two) in order to purchase the iPhone. I was not eligible for an upgrade and apparently not eligible to purchase an iPhone unless I got another line. Fortunately, this new line ended up saving me $200 that I had expected to spend.

I just returned home, opened my new iPhone expecting to be able to start downloading and testing apps but the following error appeared: “We could not complete your itunes store request. A secure network connection could not be established. Make Sure SSL 3.0 or TLS 1.0 is enabled in the Internet Options control panel, then try again.”

I searched Google and immediately found articles from last year when apparently there were other activation problems. I tried again a few minutes later and received another error stating that there was a network timeout. The conclusion? I spent four hours this morning waiting in line to get a product which doesn’t even work when I get home!

The good part of this? There were only 20 phones when I left and they were clearly going to sell out based on the line present when I left. I’m not sure how many iPhones are at other stores but there’s a good chance other stores will be selling out as well. I feel somewhat fortunate but at the same time I am dissatisfied. I can only hope that this new phone was worth waiting for.

I’ve justified the purchase by figuring that this new device is the next phase of the social platform wars and it’s my job to track it. Have you faced similar problems this morning? Will you be purchasing an iPhone 3G?