Finally, today’s the day. Apple’s long awaited iPhone 3G, iPhone 2.0 software, and MobileMe have arrived. And just like childbirth, the miracle arrived with some pain – ok, a lot of pain – but it’s worth it.
I updated two iPhones today – one about 10:00 MST and one about 16:00 MST. It took a couple of hours this morning vs less than an hour this afternoon. This morning’s update was punctuated with lots of error messages, this afternoon was a breeze. The basic issue was one of demand vs. capacity: there were a whole lot more people downloading the new software, registering new iPhones, etc than Apple’s (and likely ATT’s) servers could handle. The results were predictable.
As I poked around the Internet today, Apple has been throughly excoriated for their mistep. The company generally has its ducks together when it rolls new products out. This time, they were trying to release a new handset, a major software update, and a new web service all on the same day.
Apple isn’t the first to make such miscalculations and it won’t be the last. I remember when Sprint was rolling out its first PCS, color screen phones. I got the phone and got service and that was about it for a few months. Their system was swamped by demand – even their web site for managing your bill had issues!
Could Apple have planned a bit better? Sure. They could have made the three events a week apart: release the 2.0 upgrade for existing handsets, then the 3G phones, then MobileMe. Madison Avenue would point out that they would lose some of the sparkle but things would have gone smoother. Consumers (including moi) could have waited until later in the day but it’s shiny (as the kids say) and we wants it (as Gollum would say)! The Internet feeds that instant gratification thing we all have deep inside. We are supposed to mature as we grow older, gain some sense of self-control. Right? I have bought a lot of music on the spur of the moment. But I digress.
After a rocky morning, things seem to be leveling out. The iTunes Store seems to be back on its feet – though I am going to wait until later this weekend to update my iPod touch. We’ll have to wait and see if Apple can manufacture enough iPhones to meet demand over the next few months.
And who knows, maybe the iPhone will change the world!