Living in iPhone upgrade limbo

Apple seems to have made a mess of its new iPhone rollout.

I have the old iPhone and tried to upgrade this morning. Apparently I’m one of many thousands of people (or more) who have received nothing but error messages. Here is one of them:

iPhone upgrade error message

Apple had to know the strain to its servers would be huge this morning. Why the company decided to roll out its new 3G iPhone while also upgrading all current iPhone software on the same day is beyond me. They should have handled the upgrade a day early to better distribute server loads globally.

It will be interesting to see if Apple steps up and admits its mistake or just ignores its growing global user base. This is a critical point in Apple’s evolution and it would be nice to see the company get more customer friendly, though I’m not holding my breath.

UPDATE: Well, it’s two hours later and I have another error screen to add to my collection:

Based on what I’m hearing from others, there are two main errors: -4 and -9838. Both appear related to some bug or some traffic issue with the iTunes servers. I was finally able to upgrade to the 2.0 OS, and it seems to be working fine, but I just can’t sync to iTunes.

Still no official word anywhere on the Apple Web site that there is a problem. Companies are judged not just by their successes but also by how they handle their mistakes. Apple is losing big points today.

SUCCESS! About seven hours after I began the upgrade process my iPhone is now officially upgraded. I just took a stab at using Facebook and Twitterific. With each new app this phone — despite my earlier grumblings — is just going to get more and more valuable.

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Author: John Yunker

John co-founded Byte Level Research in 2000 and is author of The Web Globalization Report Card. He also co-founder of Ashland Creek Press.

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