Surprise surprise, it turns out that if millions of people around the planet try and do the same thing at the same time, it causes a bit of a traffic jam.
Reportedly, Apple reps are telling customers here in the States that the issues are the fault of AT&T. In the UK, Apple store staffers are blaming the issues on 02's inability to handle registration over there. Rogers customers in Canada also had issues. iPhone 1.0 users are struggling to get their new software updates installed as well, and we're not sure who that's getting blamed on as Apple PR has put up the stone wall; not one of the four iPhone contacts would return our emails seeking comment.
Perhaps there was a simultaneous failure by each of the three carriers, stranger things have happened. Still, how does Apple allow each of its carriers in some of the largest markets in the world to be so woefully under prepared? After AT&T buckled last year, you'd have to think both Apple and the carriers would make sure each phone company had the muscle, or at least a good plan in place, to handle the rush.
One carrier folds, bad on the phone company. All carriers fold, bad on Apple.
Right now, however, I have my doubts that each of the phone companies bombed. What seems far more likely at this point is that the common point in each of these four disasters is at fault: iTunes.
How in the world does a company decide to launch a product in nearly two dozen countries on the same day and not expect said service to take a major hit? Going worldwide on the same day might have been a nice claim to make at the last keynote, but it created an absolute logistical nightmare.
Apple could have done this gradually, holding a grand "iPhone Week" in which a new part of the globe got a release every day. Heck, they could have released to a new part of the world each week over a month and still sold these things like hotcakes.
Apple loves simplicity, and right now it looks like that simplicity tossed a big bowl of egg right back into Apple's face. One button, one carrier, one service, one point of failure, one big orgy of frustration.
Carriers or iTunes? Does it matter? Either way, the blame falls in Cupertino. Regardless of where the breakdown occurred, a screw-up on this scale has to be traced back to Apple. No matter how you spin it, they messed up, and they messed up bad.
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