Monday, July 16, 2007

The iPhone Non-Experience (With Update & Resolution)


Got my iPhone today. A full twenty-four hours before I expected it, which was nice. It was the only nice thing that happened from that point forward.

According to Apple, activation is as simple as plugging the iPhone into your Mac, which will open iTunes. Then, you'll be prompted through the process, and treated to the usual Apple Christmas Experience with your brand new Jesus Phone. Not if you already have an AT&T/Cingular number, you won't.

The first question you are asked is if you have an AT&T number, in fact. With that, your billing zip code, and the last four of your social, you're off and running. Then you choose a data plan, and the third and final step is the actual activation. Uh huh.

After that message, I got another that told me my current AT&T plan was incompatible with the iPhone, and that I'd have to call customer service. Waitjustaminut: How hard could it be to add another page to select a new plan? VUA (Very Un-Apple) experience No. 1.

So I call customer service. The call was answered by a human being in less than 15 seconds, with none of those infuriating automated voice menu atrocities. Well, the woman who answered was very polite and had a cheery nature, but she was totally incompetent. Had no idea how to do what was required. She said the system wouldn't let her in and to call back in a half-hour. I knew she was lying.

When I called back, I got another immediate pickup and another nice person, this time a guy. He hadn't a clue either, but I could work with the guy. He indicated that his system required the serial number for a SIMM for him to proceed. He didn't know mine, and suggested I go to an AT&T store, purchase one, and then call back. I could feel the muscles in my jaw begin to tighten: Never a good sign, because that means my "patience fuse" is almost burned down to the TNT.

We agreed that the iPhone certainly had a SIMM inside (After about twenty minutes of back-and-forth), and so I took a paper clip and popped it out. Whatdayaknow: It had the serial number right on it (I later found it ON THE FREAKING BOX, of course.

Well, he seemed genuinely amazed that his system accepted the info and was crunching away on the activation. Youdon'tsay.

I'm sure this isn't the end of it, because if you do a Google search on "iphone activation problems" you'll find a gazillion horror stories, but I think a tipping point was reached. I'll call back in the AM if I haven't gotten the "confirmation e-mail."

Oh, and I can't play with the iPod or the WiFi or any of that other stuff until the activation is complete. VUA experience No. 2.

If I could play with the rest of the thing, I'd be happily awaiting my activation instead of raking Apple and AT&T over the coals.

It is cute, though, and much smaller than I feared it would be.

Between my first generation iPod and my fifth generation video iPod: Slightly different aspect ratio, but basically the same size.

I don't usually drink beer during the week, but I think I'll aim a few Silver Bullets right at my brain tonight.

It's called "The Love Letter." I could use one of those about now, but I'd settle for a hug.



UPDATE ONE: As of 10:00 AM CDT I have not recieved a confirmation e-mail, and my iPhone is still an expensive paperweight. That makes it almost exactly eighteen hours since I started the activation process. My practice regimen for today should take until about 2:00 PM, so I'll call then if the iPhone still hasn't been activated, and/or I'll post a further update.

UPDATE TWO: At exactly 10:20 AM CDT, I recieved a call from the AT&T service center. A very nice young lady told me she called to resolve my problems, and that's exactly what she did. After varifying the various numeric codes from the iPhone box, she transferred me to an activation tech, and he also verified the codes, took the activation code I recieved in the initial e-mail, and after a restart of the iPhone, I was in Bee's wax. The whole process took about ten minutes. Right now, the iPhone is syncing to a selected set of playlists from my iTunes library (The entire library is far too big to fit in an 8 GB iPhone), and then I'm going to go out and play. Guess I won't be getting much practice done today.


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