Activation problems delay sales during iPhone 3G premiere

Update ribbon (small)

9:50 am EDT July 11, 2008 - Customers at Apple Stores across the country were told to wait, as it appeared that Apple's iTunes system it is using to activate the iPhones on AT&Ts network crashed.

Unlike last year's premiere, all 3G iPhone activation must take place in-store, rather than enabling customers to activate their phones manually. Transactions are having to be re-run and are still failing, report customers from inside Apple Stores in Maryland and Michigan.

10:25 EDT July 11, 2008 - Some customers at the Apple Store in Towson, Maryland were sent home with their new iPhone 3Gs and told that they could activate their phones at home, since in-store activation was not working. This while other store personnel were saying that word had not yet been passed down from AT&T Corporate as to whether they could actually do so.

For a 45-minute period, new customers were not allowed inside this particular store, and told to remain outside in line as the activation problem was being solved. At approximately 10:18 EDT, customers were told the activation problem was fixed, and new customers were allowed back inside. It now appears the sales and activation processes have resumed.

11:15 am EDT July 11, 2008 - The bugs in the system have apparently not been ironed out completely, as once again, the sales process has stalled since approximately 10:52 am EDT. Lines in the Towson store are once again at a standstill.

11:19 am EDT July 11, 2008 - Apple Store personnel have informed Nate Mook in Towson that the AT&T activation system is once again officially down. Sales lines were halted apparently soon after stores in the Pacific time zone, including California, had their activation systems come online.

At 8:00 am EDT this morning, the iPhone 3G officially went on sale across the United States following launches in Europe and Asia. While the fanfare was decidedly more muted than last year, crowds in the hundreds still showed up before dawn at Apple and AT&T stores.

BetaNews visited Apple stores in Baltimore and Michigan, as well as AT&T stores in Maryland and Virginia. By 7am, the lines exceeded 100 people and only grew as the clock ticked down to launch. One individual had been waiting at the Apple store in Towson, Maryland, where the line topped 250 people, since 9am Thursday.

We'll have several more personal stories and photos to share with you today, as what may be becoming a nationwide annual festival enters its second big year.


  • iTunes, activation outages are rendering new and old iPhones problematic, with reports from BetaNews correspondents on the east coast and Michigan
  • Eager iPhone 3G buyers begin all-night wait outside stores by Nate Mook reporting from Baltimore
  • Tales from the iPhone 3G launch lines by Tim Conneally
  • Software updates for iPhone, AppleTV, iTunes go live by Ed Oswald
  • First Look: iPhone 2.0 software delivers big thanks to App Store by Mykel Nahorniak
  • The new apps for iPhone 2.0: What's good? by Tim Conneally

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