The 'iPocalypse' is at hand

In a tragedy of Shakespearian proportion — at least for those technophiles and trendmeisters affected —the Apple iPhone update failed to deliver the Mac Nirvana foretold in our consumer scriptures.

As reflected across the blogosphere, angry early adopters and tech writers alike report brand-new 3G iPhones that failed to activate immediately after purchase, and bricked original iPhones rendered useless by the recently released iPhone 2.0 software update.

It’s the iPocalypse” quips tech blog Gizmodo following its headline “Apple and AT&T Stores Having Difficulty Activating iPhones.” More than 400 comments (and 1,600 Diggs) follow the early a.m. post, with many disappointed would-be 3G users sharing their consumer anticlimaxes after waiting in infinite lines.

“iFail” reads one of many flip comments underneath a post at tech blog Engadget titled, “iTunes activation servers go down, iPhone 3G customers being sent home unactivated.” Meanwhile, those who endured overnight vigils outside of Apple stores may’ve fared comparatively better for their dedication.

Kenny Pichardo, 24, camped outside an AT&T in Queens, N.Y. to become first to purchase the coveted 3G. One of the lucky few, Pichardo told Associated Press that it took the sales staff 30 minutes to get his new iPhone fired up and working.

A spokesman for AT&T Inc., the exclusive carrier for the iPhone in the U.S., told AP that a global problem with Apple's online iTunes Store prevented the phones from being fully activated in-store. As a result, those who spent night in their own beds (rather than the sidewalk outside Apple or AT&T stores) paid for their currently useless sleek bits of tech and were told to go home and wait.

Mass frustration
The support discussion forums on the official Apple Web site painted a picture of mass frustration accompanied by a few bright spots of success for those attempting to load the updated Apple software on their older iPhones.

Commenters commiserated on their inability to upgrade, sharing tales of their Byzantine attempts to connect, which were mostly met with failure and followed by iPhones that ceased working at all.

Other areas of the Apple support forum were more optimistic in tenor, with posters boasting success about their 2.0 upgrades and sharing their methods with fellow users, advising patience along the way. Those who followed met with a myriad of results, not all as positive as those who went before them.

It wasn’t just the n00bs failing to upgrade their older iPhones either. Total technophile Raymond Camden wrote about his own frustration on his well-regarded (and aptly titled) blog “coldfusionjedi” in a post titled, “So far iPhone 2.0 is.... DOA”:

“On the first attempt to update, I got an unknown error. I then tried a restore. The restore 'worked' as far as I know. iTunes said it was done and was going to restart my iPhone. On restart, the iPhone is now stuck in a 'Slide for Emergency' mode where I can only make (I assume) 911 style calls. iTunes sees the iPhone, but gives me zero control over it. It is stuck 'Accessing iTunes Store... which makes me just a tiny bit mad that my phone is sitting here in brick mode essentially while trying to hit a store that is probably getting tons of traffic.”

So far, there are more than 800 responses to Camden’s post, more than triple the amount he usually receives from his average 4,000 page views per day. Many posters share similar frustrations, some responding with an anger over their iPhone issues that Camden finds surprising.

“I'm a bit surprised by the reaction,” Camden told in an e-mail. “I wasn't very upset at all (about his iPhone problems). The amount of anger out there is quite surprising.”

Meanwhile, this post from TechCrunch: "Epic Fail: 6 million iBricks ... and growing."