It was not all smooth sailing for Apple today as it launched the Apple iPhone 3G in 21 countries. The company ran into trouble with when the servers responsible for activating the iPhones were unable to handle the load of so many simultaneous transactions. By 1130 EST, the servers went down completely and a process that Apple had indicated would take no more than 15 minutes turned into an exercise in patience for customers who were lining up.
Things started smoothly and no issues were reported in New Zealand, Australia and Japan but as more countries and stores opened their doors, the process began to take longer and longer. Some customers had to wait several hours while others went home with unactivated iPhones that they would need to activate later through iTunes.
The issue also affected first generation iPhone users who were trying to upgrade their devices to the iPhone 2.0 firmware (which was also released today). The firmware completely wipes the iPhone and reactivation is required before it can be used again. When the activation servers went down, those users found themselves with bricked iPhones.
It looks like things are back to normal now but I’m sure that Apple is looking forward to putting this day behind them!