The iPocalypse Now – overloaded Apple servers infuriate iPhone users

Apple’s activation servers, primed for Wednesday’s release of the iPhone 3.0 operating system are too strained to handle the flood of requests.

Twitter is pulsing with frustration, disappointment, contempt, and anger from existing iPhone 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.

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.

Echoes of the past

The delays and frustration mirror a somewhat different situation in July 2008, when the then-new iPhone 3G went on sale.

At the time, buyers in several Canadian cities couldn’t have their phones fully activated in Rogers’ stores owing to problems with Apple’s iTunes software.

Many who managed to get the much sought after device said it took Rogers’ employees at least an hour to set up the phones before they could leave the store.

Rogers Wireless had said it sold out of iPhones at a number of stores across the country. Some of its stores were sold out of the 16-gigabyte models and left only with the smaller eight-gigabyte versions.

In Winnipeg, there were reports of frustrated customers not being able to get into Rogers’ stores. One customer that did said Rogers’ servers were clogged with people trying to connect new iPhones, and not a single device was connected.

In the U.S., there were 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 five times since his first tweet last November: “I hate Twitter.” His fourth: “timscarfe iPhone activation server is temporarily unavailable. COME ON APPLE GRRR.”

“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”

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.”

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.

iPhone 3.0 OS – what’s new

Perhaps the most anticipated change in the iPhone 3.0 update is the ability to cut, copy, and paste text–a feature iPhone users have clamored for since the 2007 debut of the iPhone.

Users will be able to select text with a double-tap, bringing up a cut, copy, and paste bubble.

After adjusting the selected text with a finger drag, users tap on one of the three buttons. Once text is copied, it can be pasted anywhere–even in a different application–with another double-tap to summon the cut, copy, and paste bubble. Users can copy and paste text, HTML, and photos.

iPhone 3.0 also brings a horizontally-oriented keyboard to other apps–most notably Mail, Notes, and the renamed Messages texting client. Messages features Multimedia Messaging Support, which will let users send and receive photos, contact information, audio files, and locations — at least for customers of 29 carriers in 76 countries.

The Find My Phone feature can locate a lost iPhone via MobileMe. Users log into the online service, which will display where the phone is. From there, users can send a message to the phone, and it will play an alert. Find My Phone also enables data to be wiped remotely.

Other additions in iPhone 3.0 include turn-by-turn GPS-based directions, a new Voice Memos app, support for the CalDAV format, new search capabilities including a new Spotlight app, and expanded parental controls.

The iPhone 3.0 update also adds support for tethering, allowing users to turn the phone into a modem for laptops and other mobile devices.

Which iPhone 3.0 addition or enhancement is the most significant?

Some like the addition of a landscape keyboard to more apps – others say the favorite feature would determined by how one uses the device.

More for developers

Users aren’t the only people reaping the benefits of the iPhone 3.0 update.

The new software also features 1,000 programming tools aimed at helping developers add to the scores of apps available through Apple’s online App Store.

The updated software allows for push notifications where apps for instant messaging, news alerts, calendaring, and social networking can be closed but still provide notifications when changes occur.

Developers can now offer apps using a subscription model, and they’ll be able to sell products from within the app itself.

The iPhone 3.0 update also gives developers access to new capabilities. App makers can now embed a map directly in their programs with support for regular, satellite, and hybrid views. Bluetooth features have been expanded so that peer-to-peer connections between phones can be enabled via the wireless protocol.

The 3.0 update will also feature support for accessories that attach to the iPhone’s dock connector.

With files from Joaquim P. Menezes

Source: Networkworld.com and Macworld.com

Which iPhone 3.0 addition or enhancement is the most significant?

Some like the addition of a landscape keyboard to more apps – others say the favorite feature would determined by how one uses the device.

More for developers

Users aren’t the only people reaping the benefits of the iPhone 3.0 update.

The new software also features 1,000 programming tools aimed at helping developers add to the scores of apps available through Apple’s online App Store.

The updated software allows for push notifications where apps for instant messaging, news alerts, calendaring, and social networking can be closed but still provide notifications when changes occur.

Developers can now offer apps using a subscription model, and they’ll be able to sell products from within the app itself.

The iPhone 3.0 update also gives developers access to new capabilities. App makers can now embed a map directly in their programs with support for regular, satellite, and hybrid views. Bluetooth features have been expanded so that peer-to-peer connections between phones can be enabled via the wireless protocol.

The 3.0 update will also feature support for accessories that attach to the iPhone’s dock connector.

With files from Joaquim P. Menezes

Source: Networkworld.com and Macworld.com

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