The Apple of My Eye? (Not So Much)

So, I was looking forward to writing a post today on the whole 3G iPhone launch and the iPhone Software 2.0 and the wonders of the Apps store. But I can’t.

My iPhone is dead. “Bricked” as they say…

You see, Apple’s having a bit of a problem with its success. By launching the 3G iPhone on the same day all around the world (in 24 countries, at least), and releasing the software update alongside the new devices, the iTunes-enabled activation server has crashed as thousands of people (maybe even millions) are trying to activate and update their devices. This means that thousands of iPhone owners, both new and old, are left with “bricked” iPhones instead of newly updated iPhones like they had hoped.

Now, I’m not writing this post to vent or to skewer Apple or to rant on and on about how disappointed I am to have a bricked iPhone after months of waiting and waiting for this supposedly revolutionary new software update to hit… No. I shall do no such thing. Because I think there’s something to be learned here; a lesson Apple’s had coming for some time.

Here it is: We all love the grand unveiling of new things, but if you’re unprepared to really deliver, don’t do it. Roll things out in phases—slowly, steadily, over time, incrementally—so that your customers have time to react, give you feedback, and don’t crash your servers. The whole dramatic reveal is fun and everything, don’t get me wrong, but when you can’t really deliver on your promises, you fall flat on your face and open the doors to a flurry of criticism. Even worse, you make the people who love you, who stand up for you, who sing your praises on a daily basis and promote you to their friends and family look like fools.

Sure, this whole glitch will get sorted out, and in a couple of days the Web will be all atwitter as newly minted iPhone users from around the world begin blogging and tweeting and sharing photos using all the brand new applications from the iTunes Apps store. But right now, there are hoards of upset Apple fans trying to stay calm and patient and forget the fact that Apple promised “the second coming” at 8am today.

So Apple, you’re one of my favorite companies. Innovative, mysterious, and generally able to “deliver the goods.” But you’re not delivering right now, and that’s upsetting. So fix it. Please.

And in the future, if you insist on these media-fueled dramatic reveals, ensure you’re linked into Google’s servers or something so that you don’t go down and leave your fans with useless $500 bricks of aluminum and glass.

Update: (3:49pm EST) iPhone is up and running with the software update and all. My wounds aren’t quite healed yet, but a few downloads from the new Apps store should do the trick.

Update 2: Ladies and Gentlemen: I give you… the iBrick.

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7 Responses to The Apple of My Eye? (Not So Much)

  1. Ghazala Khan says:

    Interview Request

    Hello Dear and Respected,
    I hope you are fine and carrying on the great work you have been doing for the Internet surfers. I am Ghazala Khan from The Pakistani Spectator (TPS), We at TPS throw a candid look on everything happening in and for Pakistan in the world. We are trying to contribute our humble share in the webosphere. Our aim is to foster peace, progress and harmony with passion.

    We at TPS are carrying out a new series of interviews with the notable passionate bloggers, writers, and webmasters. In that regard, we would like to interview you, if you don’t mind. Please send us your approval for your interview at my email address “ghazala.khi at gmail.com”, so that I could send you the Interview questions. We would be extremely grateful.

    regards.

    Ghazala Khan
    The Pakistani Spectator
    http://www.pakspectator.com

  2. MichaelT says:

    I couldn’t have said it better than Ghazala.

    But I enjoyed your post, too. And I agree that with all the hoopla surrounding an event like this, Apple should have been prepared. Or else they should have seen that this was a huge endeavor, so phase it in a country or two at a time.

  3. Javier says:

    “Now, I’m not writing this post to vent or to skewer Apple or to rant on and on about how disappointed I am to have a bricked iPhone after months of waiting and waiting for this supposedly revolutionary new software update to hit… No. I shall do no such thing.”

    That’s exactly what you are doing

  4. Matt R. says:

    “Now, I’m not writing this post to vent or to skewer Apple or to rant on and on about how disappointed I am to have a bricked iPhone after months of waiting and waiting for this supposedly revolutionary new software update to hit… No. I shall do no such thing.”

    That’s exactly what you are doing

    Um…hate to break it to you Javier, but I think that was the point. It’s called sarcasm, and it’s used quite frequently these days, especially in the world of online media.

  5. nearlynormalized says:

    I need to get on the mule and go for a ride in the Sudan.

  6. izikavazo says:

    This is what happened to poor Microsoft, once you expand too far, you lose control and things start to go wrong. Things get neglected, products which have great potential can get destroyed by a tiny glitch.
    It was easy to compare Microsoft to Apple when Apple was small, but now that it’s getting bigger and bigger, the problems like these will keep piling up, until one day we’re taring down Apple and promoting the new popular company.
    Poor Steve Jobs, success will probably kill him.

  7. Wes Priest says:

    I agree totally with the substance of the article. But to “brick” an iphone means to make it totally useless, worthless, non-functioning…for forever. The author did not “brick” his or her iPhone. I’ve just seen this word bandied about all day, and it’s being used incorrectly.

    Having said that, though, it’s been a long day for tens of thousands of people that were either excited about getting a new iPhone or who rely on their existing iPhone for, well, work and everything else in their life. The whole thing feels rotten and so-not-Apple.

    I’m actually really interested in finding out what the hell happened with Apple today, their servers, the process, etc. It’s funny how AT&T cited Apple’s software/servers as the problem, but I wonder who insisted on in-store activation?

    I love my iPhone, but when Apple wrestles with pigs (AT&T) they’re bound to get dirty.

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