Apple Sauce – Stores and iPhone Upgrades Crushed By Heavy Demand

Apple Stores were jammed this morning.  Two stores in LA which we have been monitoring since 5am were packed with over 400 customers each (with more arriving every minute).  Lines were moving slowly, though Apple employees seemed to be working as quickly as possible to help them.  The one AT&T store that we checked had only 20 people waiting.  If you wanted an iPhone today, hopefully you got up early, or are prepared to call around to find out who still has them in stock later.  We’d suggest trying some of the potentially less crowded AT&T stores.

It was a long morning for iPhone fans

But waiting a day or two might be an even better idea.  Users upgrading or activating phones this morning were met with long delays and multiple errors in iTunes when attempting to update/activate their phones.  As a result, lines at the stores moved slowly and users upgrading their 1.0 iPhones ended up with locked and nonworking devices for hours until they were able to make a successful connection.  Frustrated users flooded internet message boards with their displeasure.

Of course, for Apple and AT&T, this means success.  Customers clearly have an pent up demand for a device such as the iPhone 2.0.  However, it seems unlikely that Apple and AT&T couldn’t have anticipated this sort of response and been more prepared for it.  They could have released the 2.0 software a day or two before the launch of the new phone to release demand on the servers.  They should have stress tested the servers for this level of demand?  Error messages could have been constructed which let customers know why their phone updates were failing and what to do about them.

More than a few people in line this morning were not there to buy a new phone, but rather to receive tech support for the version 1 phone which was disrupted by a failed software upgrade.  This resulted in some tension and hostility in the long line of waiting customers.  These are not feelings usually associated with Apple and more could certainly have been done to avoid the mess this morning, both in the stores and for users at home.

No doubt that all of this will soon settle down and sentiments from customers in love with their new iPhones will prevail over launch day glitches.

Good luck to all new iPhone users.  May the force be with you.

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  1. Todd says:


    I woke up at 5 am this morning to update my first gen iPhone to version 2.0 software. It was a painful process. The phone began the process, but couldn’t connect the the swamped iTunes server and the process stopped. As a result, my phone was left in an unusable state. A message on my computer noted an “Unknown” error. I had already decided to buy a new iPhone today but wanted to be able to play with the new 2.0 software while waiting in line.

    As luck would have it, I was able to do neither. By the time I got in line at 6:45 am, there were already at least 400 people waiting in line at the Apple Store. I had a meeting scheduled for 9am and had to leave the line by 8:30. No new phone and the old one wasn’t working.

    Luckly, I was able to find the link in the thread above which instructed to continue disconnecting and reconnecting the iPhone from the computer until the phone restored and connected. It eventually worked but took several hours of trying off and on.

  2. Todd says:

    Reporting from my iPhone:
    At 1pm the Apple Store at the Fashion Square Mall in Sherman Oaks California still had approximately 300 people in line. This sure does look like a successful launch for Apple.


    The iTunes Store seems to be working again, and I am now able to sync and use my old school iPhone without any problem.

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