Frustrated IPhone Users Stymied by Overloaded Apple Servers

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History is repeating itself: Apple's activation servers, primed for Wednesday's release of the iPhone 3.0 operating system to existing users strained to handle the flood of requests.

Twitter is pulsing with frustration, disappointment, contempt, and anger from users seeking the new version of the operating system, which includes such basic, yet never-before-included features like copy/paste. Some have been unable to access the servers at all, yet others say they have and are already playing with the new features.

Slideshow of iPhone 3.0 Software: What you'll see

So numerous are the complaints, they've sparked a backlash: Alan Milford ("alz"), a self-described resident techie with CBS Interactive in London, groused "Apple should have their own Twitter server on software release day, so all the fanboys can spam each other without bothering the rest of us."

Apple did not immediately respond to a Network World query on the status of the 3.0 downloads.

PC Advisor UK is reporting that Apple's corporate Website – in Singapore – is reporting that the new OS version won't be released in Asia until tomorrow.

The delays, and frustration mirror a somewhat different situation in July 2008, when the then-new iPhone 3G went on sale. There were a half-dozen crashes of AT&T's activation servers, slowing the ability for new buyers to get their 3G phones up and running.

Tim Scarfe is a U.K.-based computer scientist who has posted on Twitter just 5 times since his first tweet last November: "I hate Twitter." His fourth: "timscarfe iPhone activation server is temporarily unavailable. COME ON APPLE GRRR."

David Elyea is a Java developer. "delyea Oh Apple... your true colors are showing today. Activation Server? Really? It's called 'load testing'." He followed this post with: "@warneronstine Let me know if it works. I took 10 minutes to download the update and now their Activation Server is hosing me."

"warneronstine" is Warner Onstine, a Tuscon, Ariz.-based Web developer and author, who seems to have been trying to download the 3.0 software for about 3 hours. He just finished: "@delyea back up and installed! couldn't update any apps though it must be getting slammed." The first of the new features he reported testing: "Testing horizontal keyboard :-p"

The delays seem two-fold: downloading the 3.0 software and then activating (or re-activating) the iPhone. Fred Truter, a computer programmer in Guildford, U.K., tweeted: "Fr3dsk1 I have finally downloaded iPhone OS 3.0 but can't install because Apple's iPhone Activation Server is temporarily unavailable! Planning???" He used Twitter's search feature and tweeted that he's s"eeing 50/50 split between those who can, and those who can't get past the darn activation server!"

A few users seemed to have low expectations. Skylar Schipper ("SkylarSch"), a "regular guy working in the video industry" in Oklahoma, tweeted before starting a download: "I'm about to see how worthless iPhone os 3.0 is for my 1st gen iPhone." Ten minutes later: "I am just [downloading it now. I plugged] the iPhone in and it crashed iTunes Now Im dealing with the problems my reformat caused." And 25 minutes later: "Apple server is still overloaded. At least this time it didnt brick my iPhone for 6 hours!!"

At least some iPhone users decided to take a pass for now, and concentrate on more satisfying pursuits. Paul Young, an independent software engineer in San Francisco, posted this tweet: "Not gonna upgrade my iPhone OS just yet. In other news, really enjoying latest Decemberists 8-track."

This story, "Frustrated IPhone Users Stymied by Overloaded Apple Servers" was originally published by Network World.

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