On Friday, Apple released the second generation iPhone with 3G — iPhone 2.0, if you will — and it was an unmitigated disaster in every sense for any sensible person that values time over dilly-dallying and working over standing in line.

I confess I am an Apple FanBoi.  I wrote two APPLE books:  Office for Mac and Leopard — so I have a vested interest in wanting Apple to do well — but when terrible mistakes are made and everyday end users are punished for the arrogance of salesmanship, the entire loyalty thing begins to die on the vine standing in a line… in person, on the phone or in your mind…

If you wanted a new iPhone on Friday, you had to stand in a seven hour line outside an Apple store or an AT&T store.  I don’t have the patience to waste that sort of time, so I popped into a local AT&T store around 4:30pm that day to inquire about buying two new iPhones and I was told they were sold out.

AT&T then offered to sell me two new iPhones that included a $14.99 “two day delivery charge” to have the new iPhones sent to the store — but not directly to me — for activation. There was no guarantee on the delivery day.

When I told the sales guy that I didn’t want to pay an added delivery charge to have the phones delivered to AT&T when all the phones they sold that day did not carry that extra charge. I was told that’s the way it was.

I left the store laughing and iPhone-less and checked the Apple stores online for more guidance into actually getting an iPhone instead of just queuing up and wishing for one.

Apple provides a silly “stop and go” semiotic system on their website that gets updated every night at 9:00pm that tells you if the store expects to have the iPhone 2.0 in stock or not in the morning when the store opens.  Here’s today’s report for the New York stores:

The silly thing with that semiotic suggesting is you have no idea how many iPhones are actually in stock — so you risk showing up only to go home empty handed again.

I suppose the red squares are good for immediately knowing not to waste your time, but the green dots don’t promise you a phone, either.

So… what’s the point?  Why not form a virtual queue online so hopeful iPhone 2.0 owners can at least know on this day, at that time, you can walk into an Apple store and be promised product?

That said, why not just let me buy my iPhone 2.0 over the internet like I did last year!

On Friday night, disillusioned and disappointed, I decided to upgrade my old iPhone 1.0 with the new 2.0 software so I could play around with some of the Apps.

The process of upgrading my old phone took four hours.  The activation servers were overloaded and when you install 2.0 software on a 1.0 phone you entire phone is “bricked” and that means you can’t use it to do anything except make a 911 call until your phone is “re-activated” via iTunes.

What a pox on all loyal believers!

The big hook into upgrading from 1.0 to 2.0 is the “Apps Store” where you can install free and for-pay programs for your iPhone. I was game to start gamering on my iPhone!

Oh, the woe that became me!

After a few hours of installing new Apps — both free and moneyed — my iPhone 1.0 began to get sluggish and non-responsive.  I especially felt it creeping during the “auto-upgrades” of the New York Times reader application and the AP News upgrade.  After those two upgrades my iPhone was never the same.

To try to get back some speed and responsiveness, I deleted all the free junk Apps — except for the Apple Remote — and left my for-pay Apps in iTunes because deleting them from iTunes deletes them forever and I’d have to re-pay for them all over again if and when I ever solved my problem:

The really big problem started when I did a synch of my iPhone with iTunes to install the Crash Bandicoot game.  Everything froze for hours.

Nothing would back up.  Nothing would install.  Everything was hung… err “Hanged?”

My iPhone 1.0 was Bricked — made useless as a doorstop — by the iPhone 2.0 software!


I tried every known remedy to fix my iPhone.  Nothing worked.

Now I’m stuck in a perpetual White Apple Logo purgatory where my iPhone will not turn off or reset or hard boot or do anything but get really hot until the battery dies down and it turns itself off.

There is no way out of, or around, this problem and, it seems, others are also having problem with the 2.0 software upgrade…. err… “Downgrade?” and, interestingly enough, the problem doesn’t appear to be with the Apps, but with the actual Apple 2.0 iPhone software!

I use my iPhone all day every day.  Well.  I used to until Friday night.

So now I’m stuck.  No iPhone 1.0.  No iPhone 2.0.  No calls in or out.  No SMS.  No email.  No news.  No RSS feeds.  No remote administration of this blog.  No Apps.  No games.  No more fun.

I’m dead in the water and rotting in the core just like those Friday Apple lovers stuck in a neverending queue hoping to buy what is never quite purchasable — but yet is always available for the Bricking of the one you hold most beloved in the palm of your hand.

I’m calling Apple support later today to report this mess and I’ll report back here what they say and how they say it.


  1. I just spent half an hour waiting on the phone for Apple iPhone support to answer. I hung up.
    Not a good indicator, eh? I’m sure people are not flooding the call center with good wishes and happy reports!
    More soon…

  2. Hi David!
    What a nightmare! good luck with plucking the mystery out and making the iphone speak yet!

  3. Thanks for the support, Dananjay! If I could get my iPhone 1.0 back up and running again, everything would be fine for now. 2.0 can wait another day, week or month for all I care as long as I have a phone to use.

  4. UPDATE:
    I’m on hold for another 30 minutes.
    This time, I’ll say on hold until they answer!

  5. I wouldn’t want to stand in that line. Seems they should have a simpler way to meet demand. Why no online sales?

  6. Anne!
    Yeah. Ugh to standing in line. Ooof!
    No online sales, I guess, because AT&T is subsidizing the cost of the phone and they want to force you into a 2-year contract and not have you resell the phone for an immediate profit. It seems like there are smoother ways to protect the product than to punish us.

  7. UPDATE:
    Charlene in iPhone Apple Support answered and told me my iPhone went “out of warranty” 10 days ago and that they would not fix my iPhone for free even though their 2.0 software Bricked my phone!
    She told me I was not alone in my 2.0 software upgrade woes!
    I asked to buy a new iPhone 2.0 over the phone. She put me on hold and checked with a Supervisor. I was turned down. If I can’t order it over the web, they can’t either, and so here I sit stuck with zero phones and all the blame!
    Charlene is sending me to a product specialist — and warned me of an additional 40 minute wait — to see if they can un-Brick the phone I already have. I know that will not be possible, but I’ll wait it out and make my case again that there’s no such thing as a coincidence and 2.0 broke my 1.0 phone without warning.

  8. UPDATE:
    Charlene told me — while we waited on hold together — that the reason Apple requires in-store activation now is because last year so many people had trouble doing it at home. She said many people didn’t even have computers and they had to go to a friend’s house to activate their phones and it was a support nightmare.
    I was finally connected to Dezron in Austin, TX. He did me a solid and decided to repair my phone — by replacing it — and didn’t charge me anything even though I was 10 days out of warranty.
    The exchange process for iPhones is harrowing. They send me a loaner phone tomorrow. I use that phone for awhile and send back my broken iPhone in that box. They get my phone and swap in a replacement and send it back to me. I get the replacement phone and send them back the loaner. Oooooof! And they still wanted a credit card to “protect” the loaner phone! Gaaah!
    With any luck, I’ll have all phones replaced and exchanged by Friday. We’ll see! Then I’ll be back to where I started last Friday: No 3G phone but 2.0 software. Then I can wait for the 3G lines to die down a bit and get the new phones when sensibility returns to the purchasing process.

  9. I swore off long lines for being first quite awhile ago – seems like quite a hassle when I have something in hand that almost always works now. Incidentally – why get the NYT on your iphone when it looks glorious on the Kindle for free? Or at least, I see it as looking quite beautiful under their experimental web reader. 🙂

  10. Hello Mr. Gordon!
    Yes. Standing in a long line is the height of silliness. Those folks obviously have too much time on their feet for their own good! SMILE!
    I like seeing the NYTimes images in full color on my iPhone. It’s quite nice! Beware that doing what you’re doing on your Kindle might end up costing you 10 cents per page load to read the NYTimes. That’s the Amazon reservation clause in their Kindle contract. The NYTimes on the Kindle costs around $14 USD for a “legal” subscription.

  11. Okay, so I can’t resist trying to see if I can replicate the “Bricking” I experienced with Janna’s iPhone 1.0 and — after two minutes of testing — I think it’s pretty easy to do with the current 2.0 upgrade.
    The fastest way, it seems, to brick your 1.0 iPhone is to delete Apps you downloaded and installed from the iTunes store directly on the iPhone. After deleting Apps a few times, your iPhone will lock up.
    When you then try the double-press hard reset — you know what that means and if you don’t, I’m not telling you — your iPhone will boot into the White Apple screen for a VERY VERY VERY long time and, if you’re lucky, hitting the home button will shake your iPhone 1.0 back to the land of the living.
    The next step is where I am sure I can Brick her iPhone 1.0 running 2.0 because that was the next step that Bricked mine — so I’m not going to do it… but you can if you want to try it: Synch the phone with iTunes after the Apps deletion/White Apple/Lockup and I’m quite sure you’ll get into an endless spinning beachball iTunes loop that will, effectively and endlessly, Brick your iPhone.
    You have been warned!
    I’m not synching Janna’s iPhone 1.0 ever again. When we move up the 2.0 version of the iPhone, we’ll install everything from base one. No restore. Too risky!

  12. Oh, and P.S. —
    I have been informed by Ms. Janna that I am never to touch her iPhone again! SMILE!

  13. I appreciate your shoulder for crying on, Nicola! Janna’s shoulder has turned a bit cold on me right now. Heh!
    I do love my iPhone and it has been nothing but a joy for the past year. It’s pretty interesting that the 2.0 software update was released exactly 7 days after the early, first-day, adopters’ warranties expired. There’s no such thing as a coincidence and I have the Brick to prove it!

  14. Hi David,
    What a nightmare! I guess it’s worth it….

  15. UPDATE:
    Temporary replacement iPhone arrived today. I installed everything. I have a phone again!
    Mine is sent back now.
    Then they’ll replace it with a new one and send it out tomorrow, I hope, for arrival on Thursday.
    This extended iPhone exchange program is definitely worth the $60 a year that Apple charges — I’ll certainly look into buying it for my 3G version.

  16. Only for the moment, Nicola! I have a working phone now, but I’m not personalizing it with all my junk because it has to go back tomorrow in the exchange with my new “repaired” phone.

    It happened last night.
    There’s a BIG PROBLEM updating Apps from the App Store on 1.0 phones running 2.0 software.
    My first phone was bricked when I did an Apps update from the phone.
    Last night I did an Apps Update from within iTunes, and when I synched the phone to put the updated Apps on the phone: White Apple of Death!
    I will call Apple Support. Again. We’re going to have to do this ALL OVER AGAIN.
    Watch this space for continued updates…

  18. Here’s the Update:
    Apple are cross-shipping me a new iPhone 1.0.
    It should be here tomorrow.
    The process was much faster and simpler this time than last.
    Aisha told me if they had 3G phones in stock, they would’ve swapped me out a 3G phone instead. They don’t expect to have 3G phones for swapping for a couple more weeks.
    More soon…

  19. Aisha sent me an empty box. No replacement iPhone to be found. She did this as a regular repair and not the special cross-ship repair that she told me she’d do.
    What a rip!
    Now I’ll be without a phone until at least Monday.
    I called Aisha and left a message. We’ll see if she returns the call.

  20. Aisha called me back. She messed up. She didn’t use the right code to get me a replacement phone.
    I’m phoneless until at least Monday or Tuesday.
    Business is dead in the brackwater.

  21. UPDATE:
    My Repair Status online has not updated since Wednesday, so I’ve had no idea what was happening with my iPhone swap.
    This morning, FedEx delivered my repaired — not replaced! — iPhone.
    I am in the process of restoring the phone and adding the 2.0 update.

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