Something I never thought I’d do…but let me explain. The iPhone is incredible. I’ve used a lot of devices and a lot of gadgets and a lot of technology and nothing has ever blown me away quite like this. Dare I say that the device has the potential (when software updates add some features like iChat, tested and approved 3rd party apps and a horizontal keyboard mode in all apps), it might be the closest thing to perfect a phone/music/video/internet device gets. It is an absolute pleasure to use. Sadly for Apple, the user experience is not up to them. Its up to The New AT&T…and that means that the odds have been stacked against them from day dot. Since picking up my 8GB iPhone last Thursday, I’ve had two phone numbers, four sim cards, 3 data plans and I’ve spent about 8 hours on the phone with AT&T support. I’ll go through and detail the whole ordeal once I part with the device which I’ve now named Harold. Harold will be missed…but sometimes you have to let go to save your sanity, and prove a point. The point is that AT&T either can not provide, or is unprepared to provide the kind of experience on their end that this device deserves. When part of ones service is acting up, an AT&T Corporate Store employee should know not to replace the sim card…something which on prepaid accounts, bricks the iPhone until a new account is activated and tied to the new sim card. This isn’t to say that several of the some 15 AT&T phone representatives haven’t been helpful. Many of them…in particular, several canadians and one southern man have been absolutely amazing, and are frankly the only reason I didn’t return the iPhone on Friday or Saturday. The AT&T store employees have been exactly as one would expect…which is to say that I’d expect them to behave like rude and unknowledgeable people making about $8 an hour. Still, I’d expect that they’d get simple training on how not to turn a device that runs $599 into a beautiful shiny brick-like 8GB iPod and wi-fi internet device unable to place calls or send sms messages. Everyone in Cupertino who worked on the iPhone should really be proud of themselves. It is a marvel of innovation, evolution and design from both hardware and software points of view. I’ll be picking another one up soon. Once AT&T figures out how to manage their customers. This isn’t a dig at Apple or the iPhone…its a dig at The New AT&T and their mismanagement of my account in particular. Some people have a fine experience and everything works…but I wasn’t one of them this time. Sad. Really. Glad I went prepaid (for this possibility).