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Apple Caused iPhone 4S Activation Issues?

MacRumors

macrumors bot
Original poster
Apr 12, 2001
50,491
11,872





Tales of activation problems on all three U.S. carriers were widespread yesterday. An InformationWeek article claimed that the problem was not with the carriers, but instead was on Apple's end -- specifically with iTunes activation:
It was suggested to me by someone with knowledge of the situation that Apple's servers are most likely to blame for the problems. An employee at one of the three major carriers who asked not to be named told me in an email, "Yes, my IT people aren't happy. The activation issue is out of the Apple stores ... on all carriers."
An article on iSource.com claims Apple had a "system issue" around 11:30AM Pacific time that affected activation of all iPhones.

Regardless of the difficulties, it seems iPhone 4S launch day was a success for Sprint, AT&T and Apple -- though Verizon oddly didn't announce any launch-day sales figures -- with most customers getting their activation issues worked out, eventually.

Article Link: Apple Caused iPhone 4S Activation Issues?
 

tasset

macrumors 6502a
May 22, 2007
570
193
Can someone explain to me why the phones have to go through an 'activation' process at all? I mean, to get it in your hands you already have to dish out a couple hundred bucks, sign a contract most likely. You are ALREADY locked in. What the heck are they afraid of? I don't believe there is such an issue with iPod Touch or iPad (maybe it works similar though).
If it was to prevent theft I could see, but every other week on here there is a story about a gang rushing an Apple store and making out with thousands of dollars of iPhones/iPads. This 'activation' process seems to be more unfriendly to real customers than criminals.
 

marksman

macrumors 603
Jun 4, 2007
5,764
5
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Verizon just got the 4 not that long ago so would not be surprised by their lower sales. Also their original launch was underwhelming. I think people who use their phones with data need a faster network thus Verizon rules the faux smartphone android market where the average user only uses a tiny fraction of data of an iPhone user.

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tasset said:
Can someone explain to me why the phones have to go through an 'activation' process at all? I mean, to get it in your hands you already have to dish out a couple hundred bucks, sign a contract most likely. You are ALREADY locked in. What the heck are they afraid of? I don't believe there is such an issue with iPod Touch or iPad (maybe it works similar though).
If it was to prevent theft I could see, but every other week on here there is a story about a gang rushing an Apple store and making out with thousands of dollars of iPhones/iPads. This 'activation' process seems to be more unfriendly to real customers than criminals.

There are a lot of bacjebd services provided like visual voice mail, siri, notifications etc and beyond that there are probably other reasons.
 
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sapporobaby

macrumors 68000
Wirelessly posted (Mozilla/5.0 (iPhone; CPU iPhone OS 5_0 like Mac OS X) AppleWebKit/534.46 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/5.1 Mobile/9A334 Safari/7534.48.3)



There are a lot of bacjebd services provided like visual voice mail, siri, notifications etc and beyond that there are probably other reasons.

BS. This only goes on in the US. EMEA customers don't have this problem. Let's drop Visual Voicemail for the sake of argument. Your point is rendered moot as all phones are now on par. Android does not have this problem, nor does SE, nor Nokia. It is the operators pure and simple.
 

wordoflife

macrumors 604
Jul 6, 2009
7,563
34
The customers don't care who caused the bottle neck. At the end of the day, the customers are going to point their fingers at the carriers.
 

Celtic-moniker

macrumors regular
Jun 23, 2009
114
23
Melbourne Australia
So...
Activation issues, Siri Issues, iOS5 upgrade issues, iCloud issues.

Well, they sold some iPhones, that's for certain. Not their finest hour however, at least I got pretty beat up by it.

What Siri issues?

I haven't had any Siri issues. I had a brief iCloud password issue, which rectified itself, and only ever showed me a warning, despite still actually getting my email.

No activation issues here either.
 

RoelJuun

macrumors 6502
Aug 31, 2010
431
172
Netherlands
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Apple has the activation numbers of all carriers combined.. No wonder.
 

jffmrk

macrumors newbie
Apr 20, 2010
15
0
California
No problems here

I got 2 Verizon iPhone4S yesterday morning. I activated both of them fine around 12:15pm PT. It took only a couple minutes before the activation complete message showed up.
 

zeromeus

macrumors regular
Oct 7, 2008
181
3
SOCAL
What Siri issues?

I haven't had any Siri issues. I had a brief iCloud password issue, which rectified itself, and only ever showed me a warning, despite still actually getting my email.

No activation issues here either.

I have no problem with activation. Of course, my iPhone didn't come until 8:03PM. I DID encounter a problem with Siri, though. I keep getting, "Unable to reach server." messages. This morning I woke up and Siri works!
 

haydn!

macrumors 65816
Nov 10, 2008
1,037
1,124
UK
Android does not have this problem, nor does SE, nor Nokia. It is the operators pure and simple.

But when has Sony E, Nokia or any single Android handset maker attempted to active 1million+ handsets in a single day?

I think if you take into account the scale of the iPhone launch, to expect no problems at all is a little unrealistic. Apples servers are more than capable of handling everyday usage, but product launch days like this are just a handful of peak days per year.
 

nebo1ss

macrumors 68030
Jun 2, 2010
2,808
1,601
But when has Sony E, Nokia or any single Android handset maker attempted to active 1million+ handsets in a single day?

I think if you take into account the scale of the iPhone launch, to expect no problems at all is a little unrealistic. Apples servers are more than capable of handling everyday usage, but product launch days like this are just a handful of peak days per year.

You are missing the point when you buy a Nokia or Samsung phone it works out of the box. There is no activation process. This all part of Apple desire for control that this process even exist.
 

Tronic

macrumors 6502
Jun 10, 2009
351
59
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Rumor has it that each carrier was given a certain channel into iTunes for activations and these channels were being overloaded. The reason there were so many AT&T threads is due to the fact that they have the most iPhone users in the US. My dad works for AT&T corporate and said that the activation of non-iPhones was smooth all day so therefore he also suspects apple is to blame.
 

Finiksa

macrumors 6502a
Feb 23, 2003
595
13
Australia
You are missing the point when you buy a Nokia or Samsung phone it works out of the box. There is no activation process. This all part of Apple desire for control that this process even exist.
That's not true, Nokia and other phones are locked in the factory and have carrier specific firmware installed in the factory. iPhones are identical and unlocked out of the factory, they're locked to a carrier (if at all) during activation.

Other phones also need to be activated, specifically GSM SIMs (usually while removed from the phone) and CDMA ESNs however this is done by the carrier in store or at the carriers office before shipping the phone. With iPhone you have the ability to do the activation yourself at home (theoretically).
 

minik

Contributor
Jun 25, 2007
1,311
125
Bellevue, WA
I spent 3.5 hours (from 8:15AM to 11:45AM PDT) yesterday with 2 different Apple Store employees, 2 on-site AT&T employees, and 3 phone calls with AT&T just to get one iPhone 4S. I'm already an AT&T customer with an iPhone 4, but I wanted to port my other T-mobile number to the new iPhone 4S. The SIM card inside the iPhone 4S was bad too.

It kept on going through the re-activation loop and I saw 8 different phone numbers under my name. The store employee told me to come back (today) and let the system clean out my records.

I came back to the store this morning and a new Apple employee tried to handle my problem which wasn't the best. Anyhow, I hunted down the worker who handled my case yesterday. We all stood right next to 3 AT&T employees with their laptop and doing all kinds of return/purchase/return/activate/re-activate, 90 mins later I walked out with the iPhone 4S.

I just let them do their 'job' without being angry at them.
 

Rodimus Prime

macrumors G4
Oct 9, 2006
10,136
4
That's not true, Nokia and other phones are locked in the factory and have carrier specific firmware installed in the factory. iPhones are identical and unlocked out of the factory, they're locked to a carrier (if at all) during activation.

Other phones also need to be activated, specifically GSM SIMs (usually while removed from the phone) and CDMA ESNs however this is done by the carrier in store or at the carriers office before shipping the phone. With iPhone you have the ability to do the activation yourself at home (theoretically).

does not change the fact that out of the box the others work. Android they all hit Google servers but the phone can work with out receiving any activation return from Google as things finishing linking up the phone side works.

Apple well the phones do not work at all and from that mess it causes a lot of problems.
Apple could easily of solve those problems by prelocking the phones. They could easily change it later on but right off the back they are locked.

This is Apple caused problem. Apples is at fault here.
 

nebo1ss

macrumors 68030
Jun 2, 2010
2,808
1,601
That's not true, Nokia and other phones are locked in the factory and have carrier specific firmware installed in the factory. iPhones are identical and unlocked out of the factory, they're locked to a carrier (if at all) during activation.

Other phones also need to be activated, specifically GSM SIMs (usually while removed from the phone) and CDMA ESNs however this is done by the carrier in store or at the carriers office before shipping the phone. With iPhone you have the ability to do the activation yourself at home (theoretically).

There is a world of difference between the need to activate a SIM and to activate an actual phone. SIMS always need to be activated because this is part of the billing process to associate the account with the user. There is no need to activate a phone.

I Should be able to take an Iphone out of the box and put an active sim in it and it should work. That unfortunately does not happen but I can assure you it happens with every other device.
 

kleinias

macrumors regular
Aug 21, 2007
100
0
Wirelessly posted (Mozilla/5.0 (iPhone; CPU iPhone OS 5_0 like Mac OS X) AppleWebKit/534.46 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/5.1 Mobile/9A334 Safari/7534.48.3)

Verizon just got the 4 not that long ago so would not be surprised by their lower sales. Also their original launch was underwhelming. I think people who use their phones with data need a faster network thus Verizon rules the faux smartphone android market where the average user only uses a tiny fraction of data of an iPhone user.
I'm unsure that any of what you wrote is actually accurate at all (rather surprising considering your forum username). First, I was under the impression that Verizon's iPhone 4 launch was reasonably successful. Next, I've used an iPhone 4 (and now 4S) on both Verizon's and AT&T's network and the consensus actually seems to be that both networks have their faults.

Verizon's network is superior when it comes to coverage and consistency and AT&T's can offer superior data speeds when you have a good connection. It seems quite unlikely that any of that really has to do with why folks get an iPhone or Android phone on Verizon's network (or AT&T's for that matter). I mean, wouldn't a persons first guess be that a lot of folks have Android phones on Verizon because Verizon didn't offer the iPhone until fairly recently.

Lastly, I fully realize this is a Apple-centric forum and I'm an iPhone (and Mac) user (and I've never owned an Android phone), but calling Android phones "faux smartphone(s)" makes you sound as petty as when they say the same thing regarding Apple products.
 

Slurpy2k8

macrumors 6502
Feb 26, 2008
383
0
Who cares where it was cause from? Everyone could have predicted there would be activation issues the first day. You have that many people hitting the servers, something has to give, and usually does. What the hell did you expect? But it's over now, so you can move along with your lives. There's not a single company on the planet that can handle the amount of traffic generated yesterday without issue.
 

tranceme

macrumors member
Jan 10, 2006
92
35
California, US
You are missing the point when you buy a Nokia or Samsung phone it works out of the box. There is no activation process. This all part of Apple desire for control that this process even exist.

Wrong. Not all Samsung phones come ready and activated. You're broad statement is incorrect. And, the process is different depending on the carrier. Heck, on Sprint, Epic requires going through a few steps. I agree that phone should be ready to roll.
 

bretm

macrumors 68000
Apr 12, 2002
1,951
27
There is a world of difference between the need to activate a SIM and to activate an actual phone. SIMS always need to be activated because this is part of the billing process to associate the account with the user. There is no need to activate a phone.

I Should be able to take an Iphone out of the box and put an active sim in it and it should work. That unfortunately does not happen but I can assure you it happens with every other device.

Well I don't know what they were doing, but my wife's Atrix tool hours to get up and running and they did it on the store while I twiddled my thumbs.
 

longofest

Editor emeritus
Jul 10, 2003
2,858
1,416
Falls Church, VA
What Siri issues?

I haven't had any Siri issues. I had a brief iCloud password issue, which rectified itself, and only ever showed me a warning, despite still actually getting my email.

No activation issues here either.

I've had plenty of Siri issues, and I've seen plenty of other people (via twitter or reviews) saying that Siri isn't very reliable.

Some of the issues I've had is it says "I can't find the network" even though I am connected to a perfectly good WiFI signal. Oh, and then there's the issue where it answers a question you asked two times ago. And then there's the issue where it doesn't understand you at all.

Siri has proven itself to be of Alpha quality, not even deserving a "Beta" label in my opinion. It is a really cool concept for sure, but Apple would have better served their customers by holding back - maybe demoing it- releasing the iPhone 4S, and saying it would come as a free update to iPhone 4S users later when it had the kinks worked out.

----------

Who cares where it was cause from? Everyone could have predicted there would be activation issues the first day. You have that many people hitting the servers, something has to give, and usually does. What the hell did you expect? But it's over now, so you can move along with your lives. There's not a single company on the planet that can handle the amount of traffic generated yesterday without issue.

Actually, Amazon handles that and more during the holiday sales rush (specifically Black Friday). There is dynamically scaling cloud technology out there to handle just such situations, and some companies have employed it successfully (Amazon being one). I can't for the life of me figure out why Apple hasn't figured out how to employ cloud better yet.

I even have heard rumblings that they used some of Amazon's AWS/EC2 for iCloud, yet they clearly didn't do a good enough implementation.
 

chrisburton83

macrumors newbie
Feb 19, 2010
7
0
just take a deep breath

alright people. i know we are all frustrated, but why is everyone so angry on this thread! just because you had a bad experience, or don't like how apple (or any carrier) handled this launch, doesn't mean we have to be so mean to each other... or any employee of these companies.

My wife and I each got a 4s, and had problems all day with activation, iCloud login, and siri. But we have freaking amazing phones that both work perfectly today! I get frustrated too with tech issues, but geez... no one is making me buy anything. and i am pretty lucky to be able to have such a fancy phone.

let's take all of our pent up anger out on something else... like world famine or something. i dunno.

i leave you with this luis c.k. bit that will hopefully make us all stop to think before we get so angry about a dumb phone.

(this is him doing a version of it on conan, but check out his special called 'hilarious')
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-LkusicUL2s
 

BC2009

macrumors 68000
Jul 1, 2009
1,966
318
What Siri issues?

I haven't had any Siri issues. I had a brief iCloud password issue, which rectified itself, and only ever showed me a warning, despite still actually getting my email.

No activation issues here either.

All weekend long Siri has been sporadically telling me that it cannot connect to the servers or to the network. This is even more frustrating when basic voice dialing fails to work because Siri uses the server for voice processing. This is why Apple called it "beta" and this is why Apple usually does not release a marquee feature as "beta". I'm glad to hear your launch weekend experience has been solid, but my wife and I have had a different experience.
 
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