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iPhone activation problems widespread, serious (updated x3)

Following yesterday’s rollout of Apple’s iPhone on AT&T’s wireless mobile phone network, many once-excited customers found themselves frustrated and disappointed after activation-related delays prevented use of their new $499 and $599 devices. As pointed out by iLounge reader Steve Rubel, and confirmed by two iLounge editors with similar issues, a large number of first-day iPhone customers have fanned out across the Internet to describe failures by AT&T to properly start service on the new phones. The issues are officially being attributed to overwhelming demand for the iPhone, and an AT&T representative confirmed to iLounge this morning that “virtually all AT&T stores sold out” of iPhone yesterday; spot checks this morning indicated that Apple Stores, which generally received much larger allocations of iPhones, vary from sold out of one capacity (typically 8GB) to having either or both in stock.

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The iPhone, which requires a one-time download of iTunes 7.3, must go through a several-step online activation process before any of its iPod, Internet, or phone features can be used. Failure to activate the phone renders it useful only for “emergency calls,” and disables the remainder of its features; the activation process must be repeated, with fewer steps, each time the phone’s software is updated. If AT&T’s automated service, linked to through iTunes, fails to activate or re-activate the phone in a prompt manner, it will not be usable.

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Discussions on Apple’s support forms now describe quoted wait times of “up to 24 hours” for activation, as well as numerous other issues relating to conversion of Individual Plans to Family Plans. Though 5 of our 7 iPhones activated properly, iLounge’s editors are currently attempting to get activation issues resolved with the other 2, and will update this article as appropriate.

Update: A second AT&T representative has told iLounge that a team of AT&T engineers has been manually working around the clock to process the flood of delayed activation requests experienced last night, which were described as falling into the “change of account type from individual to family” and “number portability” categories. Wait times range from 6 to 9 to 24 hours based on the category of account change; iLounge received a “24 hours” notice on a ported number. More straightforward iPhone accounts are typically set up via iTunes in minutes.

Updates 2 and 3: One of iLounge’s 2 long-activation iPhones was activated successfully after 18 hours. The other took roughly 40 hours, and five phone calls, since the first attempt on Friday night, and has now been fully activated.

Massive iPhone Interface, Comparison Gallery Posted

We’ve just posted a massive new collection of iPhone interface and comparison pictures. Ever wondered how an iPhone compares physically to a Motorola RAZR? A Sidekick 3?

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The original iPod, or current iPod models?

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Want to see pictures of the iPhone, iPod, Apple TV, and Mac computers all next to each other?

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Then check our our iPhone unboxing gallery, and our additional interface shots on Flickr. Enjoy!

Additional iPhone unbox gallery posted (updated)

In addition to our previous set of iPhone unboxing pictures, we’ve just posted a new gallery full of “standard” iLounge shots.

You can see the rest of the pictures by clicking on the title of this article, and viewing our Flickr account. Enjoy!

BMW announces iPhone integration in current 3, 5, and X5 cars

In a short statement posted on its web site, BMW has confirmed earlier reports that it would be the first to offer iPhone integration for its cars. The company notes that cars equipped with the iPod/USB interface, namely “3 and 5 Series with 03/07 production, the X5 with 04/07 production and the 6 Series with 09/07 production date,” can use iPhone with music and Bluetooth hands-free calling “from day one” of iPhone’s launch. Additional details will be offered by the company in the near future.

Official Apple Store iPhone accessories list

Some of the third-party accessories selected by Apple for sale in the Apple Stores include:

Aliph Jawbone and Plantronics Discovery 655 Bluetooth Headsets.

Griffin Elan Snap-In Case, Contour Design iSee for iPhone, Speck ToughSkin and SkinTight for iPhone, and Incase Protective Cover.

Note that Apple employees are telling customers at one of the retail locations that they should feel welcome to return cases that do not fit iPhones properly.

First iPhone unpacking photos, manuals, hands-on posted (updated)

You’ve seen the photos of iPhone: here are the photos of iPhone’s box and box contents. Just like Apple’s old premium iPods—the way they used to be packaged before price drops and smaller packages prevailed—the iPhone comes with premium items such as a charging, audio, and synchronization Dock, as well as a USB Power Adapter. It also includes current iPod-like fare, specifically a Stereo Headset (earphones with microphone), a Dock Connector to USB Cable, and printed documentation. New to the package is a cleaning cloth, provided to help keep the screen shining. iTunes 7.3 remains a download from the Apple.com web site, rather than a CD in the box.

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You can see iLounge’s first iPhone unpacking photos here. Additional photos are available from the link below.

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You can see additional iPhone unpacking photos here.

Update: Apple has posted manuals for the iPhone to its web site. With the Mac OS X application Preview, you’ll see TOC and Index links.

Hands-On: iLounge’s editor Larry Angell notes from his retail iPhone the setup process to transfer an existing line to iPhone was extremely fast, and called in a report to us from the road. He notes, however, that AT&T network speeds, which were reportedly upgraded for iPhone, do not appear to be very fast in his initial tests of the EDGE network. His second call on iPhone was dropped one minute in, and his third call also disconnected after several minutes. AT&T’s network appears to be taking a hit with the addition of the many new iPhone users.

Larry adds that, despite other data questions he still has, Google Maps is running very fast on his iPhone. It’s also pulling up correct, nearby locations with a surprising degree of accuracy as to his present location. Perhaps from his launch day excitement, he’s finding that the screen is smudging from his face, but it’s not visible head-on—the screen is still perfectly clear. It’s only visible on odd angles. He also feels that the iPhone is much slimmer than most of the photos give it credit for being. In brief web testing, he notes that MP3 and certain movie files found on web pages will play back on iPhone, but YouTube videos found embedded on a page (such as iLounge) will not, so you’ll need to use the YouTube browser. We’ll add more impressions shortly.

First iPhone accessory videos posted, more coming (updated)

In order to help readers learn about the ins and outs of iPhone accessories, iLounge has just released a series of videos spotlighting iPhone accessories, ranging from cases to cables, speakers, earphones, and more. Five videos are already online and ready for you to watch; expect more in the near future. Though most of the products shown aren’t exciting, the videos do provide information on what you can expect from the first wave of accessories in terms of compatibility and features, and several especially interesting products are featured. Posted on YouTube, the videos are viewable on your iPhone, Apple TV, and/or computer.

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5

Apple posts ‘Finger Tips’ videos

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Apple has posted a series of brief videos explaining how to perform simple tasks on the iPhone. Videos include “Silence the ring,” “Delete a message,” “Create your favorites list,” “Assign a ringtone,” “More song controls,” “Browse in Cover Flow,” “Magnify to edit,” “Mail preferences,” “Set a passcode,” and “Reset you iPhone.” All ten “Finger Tips” videos can be viewed from http://www.apple.com/iphone/ .

iPhone lines grow across country (updated x4)

Surprising some who believed that lines of customers for iPhone would not materialize, or that such lines would be restricted to only New York City and major cities in California, large groups of anxious iPhone buyers have formed at Apple Stores and AT&T locations across the United States. As of noon local time on the East Coast, iLounge editors and readers in Florida, Ohio, Tennessee and California reported groups of over 50 people already queued at local stores before noon local time, only a few having slept overnight to be close to the head of their lines. You can follow iLounge editor Larry Angell’s live updates from Columbus, Ohio at this link.

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After noon, the crowds continued to swell, nearing 100 even in non-flagship Apple locations. By 4PM EST and 1PM PST, flagship Apple Stores in New York City and Los Angeles, as well as select other locations, had lines of over 200 people waiting for iPhones. At 2PM on each coast, Apple Store employees “blacked out” the stores’ windows as they prepared to move iPhones into display positions around each store, and prepare inventory on hand for sale. Signs reading “iPhone World Premiere, Tonight at 6 p.m.” were placed in the windows. Some of the stores announced that they would take groups of 50 at a time for purchases, in two lines: one cash, one credit. Fifteen minutes before launch, our editor at the Florida store was reporting “well over 250 people” in line. Our Ohio editor noted that groups of 30-40 would be taken at a time, and were asked to proceed to the Genius Bar if they were interested in making an immediate purchase.

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Many reports coming in to iLounge suggest that the lines continue to grow, as demand for the $499 and $599 iPhones appears to be significant, and though it’s unclear as to how many iPhones stores are receiving, the numbers are high. A YouTube video shows a full pallet of iPhones being delivered to the Apple Store in SoHo, providing a rough estimate of 400-500 iPhones, perhaps more. One iLounge editor reports that he has heard that the ratio of 8GB units to 4GB units available is 4:1 in favor of 8GB units.

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To keep the crowds refreshed, Apple Store employees have handed out bottles of Smartwater, and have walked the lines to chat people up as the launch approaches. We’ll continue to update this story as the day progresses; submit your story or photos using the “submit a news tip” box inside this article, or the “submit news” button at the top of the main page News column.

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Radtech intros ClearCal, Gelz for iPhone

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Radtech has introduced two new accessories for iPhone, as well as a list of iPhone-compatible legacy products. ClearCal for iPhone is a optically-correct protective film that completely covers the device’s display screen. It uses a siliconized adhesive to attach to the phone’s surface, and can be removed, washed, and reapplied. It is available now, and sells for $10. Gelz for iPhone are low-tack silicone cases with a form-fitting design. Available now in six different colors, they are priced at $9 each. Radtech says that its legacy “Works with iPhone” products include “wall and vehicle chargers, charge and sync cables, speaker and line-level audio / video cabling, audio splitter and extension cables, dock port protective inserts, retractable ear buds and sound isolating, in-ear earphones.”

iTunes 7.3 released with new iPhone, Apple TV features

Apple has released iTunes 7.3, the iPhone-ready update to its popular digital media management software. Now available as a download from the company’s web site, iTunes 7.3 handles activation and syncing of iPhones, and also includes the ability to stream digital photos “from any computer in your home” to Apple TV, an omission from the device’s capabilities at launch.

Official Apple iPhone add-ons, Works with iPhone logo shown

A new Apple web page for iPhone Accessories has provided eleventh-hour confirmation of prices and names for a number of Apple-branded iPhone add-ons.

The iPhone Bluetooth Headset ($129) is, as previously noted on iLounge, a simple black earpiece with a microphone built in for wireless telephone calling. A rechargeable Lithium-Ion battery inside delivers 72 hours of standby time and 5.5 hours of talk time, according to Apple. It’s not used for music, and features a single button on the top to let you initiate and end calls. Apple has confirmed that the headset comes packaged with a charging cable for itself and the iPhone, as well as a charging dock for itself and the iPhone, called Dual Dock.

The iPhone Dock and iPhone Dual Dock are both priced at $49, and both come with Apple USB Power Adapters. The iPhone Dock provides an audio-line out for connection to speakers, a place to charge the iPhone, and its own Dock Connector to USB cable. iPhone Dual Dock charges both the iPhone and iPhone Bluetooth Headset at the same time, next to each other.

imageThe iPhone Bluetooth Travel Cable ($29) is a specially designed cable with a Dock Connector at one end, a USB plug at the other, and a recessed spot in the Dock Connector plug for charging the Bluetooth Headset.

The iPhone Universal Dock Adapter 3-Pack ($9) enables you to dock iPhone in any iPod Universal Dock and physically fit in similar Universal Dock products, such as iPod and iPhone speakers.

imageThe iPhone TTY Adapter ($9) connects to iPhone’s headphone port and enables use of the iPhone with standard TTY (teletypewriter) devices for the deaf.

The iPhone Stereo Headset ($29) is the stock pair of iPhone earbuds, featuring a microphone behind a windscreen and a button to control iPod audio and phone calls.

imageAdditionally, Apple has explained the Works with iPhone program and offered some guidance on iPod accessory compatibility. The Works with iPhone logo, which turns out to be the same one previously shown on iLounge, signals that an electronic accessory has been “certified by the developer to meet Apple performance standards.” According to the company, “[w]hen you connect an uncertified accessory, your iPhone will notify you and present you with the option to go into Airplane Mode, which turns off the communication capability of the iPhone while it’s connected to that accessory. This means that you’ll avoid potential audio interference, but you’ll be unable to make or receive calls. If you choose not to enter Airplane Mode, you can make and receive calls, but you may experience some audio interference.”

AT&T boosting EDGE speed ahead of iPhone?

Numerous reports from across the country are indicating that EDGE speeds over AT&T’s network have seen a dramatic increase over the last twelve hours or so. Many are convinced that this sudden boost in speed — some are seeing results well over 200Kbps — is connected to the iPhone launch. It was previously rumored that such an upgrade was coming, but marked speed improvements had not been noticeable until now.

Jobs: iPhone supply may not be enough

In an interview with the Wall Street Journal, Apple CEO Steve Jobs has claimed that the company’s iPhone inventory may not be enough to meet demand. “We’re building a fair number of them, but we may not [meet demand],” Jobs said. “We had to make our best guess as to what the demand was going to be and what supply we were going to put in place many, many months ago. We built factories to build these things and everything. We’ve taken our best guess but it wouldn’t surprise me at all if it ain’t enough.” Jobs also claimed that the iPhone has yet to cannibalize iPod sales, stating, “We can report to you that it hasn’t so far.”

Report: Next iPods to run OS X?

  • June 28, 2007
  • iPod

According to a report by Ars Technica, Apple CEO Steve Jobs revealed during a speech to Apple employees today that the company has a team working on OS X for “some iPods we’re working on.” OS X, the Unix-based operating system that Jobs brought to the Macintosh following the acquisition of his company NeXT, is also the operating system found in iPhone, and credited for iPhone’s powerful multitasking, networking, and animation features, amongst others. Sources have suggested that the next-generation iPods mentioned by Jobs will debut in mid- to late-September, and include widescreen video playback, as well as other features similar to ones debuted in iPhone.

Steve Jobs: Free iPhones for Apple employees

At an all-hands meeting called by Steve Jobs and held today on the Apple campus in Cupertino, CA, the company’s CEO told a packed audience that every full-time Apple employee who has been with the company for more than a year will receive a free 8GB iPhone by the end of July. While this has little direct meaning for those of us who haven’t been in Apple’s employ for the last year, it is a good indication that the company feels secure with iPhone inventory levels heading into the device’s launch period.

Leaked AT&T iPhone launch guide provides more details

A leaked AT&T internal “iPhone Launch Training Participant Guide” has surfaced on the internet, and contains still more details pertaining to the iPhone’s launch. Of particular note is the guide’s language regarding pre-paid service. At one point in the document, it states “Customers who complete a Pre-Approved credit check in-store and who owe a deposit can: pay the deposit (this avoids a return trip to the store to do so), not pay the deposit, but will choose pre-paid service, (during the iTunes activation process).” This would indicate that the iPhone will be available with pre-paid service, however, later in the guide it states: “Customers will only be offered GoPhone Pick Your Plan if the credit check results in a deposit requirement. GoPhone Pay as You Go is not offered with iPhone.” A definitive answer has yet to emerge.

The document also states that iPhone customers purchasing the handset in AT&T stores will receive their purchase sealed in an Apple-branded bag that must be scanned out at no cost by an AT&T employee. In addition, it lists the Apple-branded accessories that will be available alongside the iPhone at AT&T stores, including the iPhone Travel Charger, iPhone In-Box Stereo Headset, iPhone Bluetooth Mono-earbud, iPhone Bluetooth Travel Cable, and iPhone Dock Connector to USB Cable. Finally, as of June 29, AT&T will sell iTunes Gift Cards as well, in denominations of $25 and $50.

iSkin announces Revo case for iPhone

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iSkin, maker of numerous iPod cases such as the hugely popular eVo 3, has announced the Revo case for iPhone ($40), a silicone rubber case with a clear plastic front protector. According to the company, the clear protector clips on to Revo’s sides and covers the screen without impeding use of iPhone’s touchscreen, while the majority of iPhone’s body is covered with soft, contoured rubber in your choice of several colors. Revo cases come in an all-black version, as well as versions with prominent accent colors at the top and bottom of the screen. Five colors will be available starting in July, each packaged with an optional privacy film for the iPhone screen, which renders it visible when viewed straight on, but not when viewed at an angle.

Apple RSS reader for iPhone?

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A placeholder image at the URL http://reader.mac.com/ has lead to widespread speculation that the page will be home to an Apple-produced, AJAX-based RSS reader for the iPhone. When browsing to the page from a standard PC, an image comes up that states “This Application Is Viewable Only On iPhone” across the top, with the following message underneath: “This application can only be viewed using the iPhone. For more information on the revolutionary new iPhone, visit http://www.apple.com/iphone.” The original placeholder also included an image of what appeared to be an iPhone-formatted RSS reader on the device’s screen; that part of the image has been replaced with an image of the iPhone’s “slide to unlock” screen. Keep reading to see both images. [via Daring Fireball, image via TUAW]

Pogue: Apple Bluetooth Headset coming in July

David Pogue, tech columnist for the New York Times, has posted his own iPhone FAQ. In “Often Asked iPhone Questions,” Pogue covers lots of information familiar to those who have followed the device in the news. He also offers up a few details that have not been previously announced. According to the article, the iPhone comes with 25 ringtones, which Pogue says are “really good.” In answering a question regarding the phone’s Bluetooth capabilities, he claims that the Apple Bluetooth Headset, which many expected to debut with the iPhone, won’t be available until July. Finally, he also offers a list of iPod features on the iPhone: “Password protection, Shuffle and Repeat modes, ratings, audiobooks, audiobook speed control, podcasts, SoundCheck, equalization, volume limiter, [and] on-the-go playlists.”

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