Archived entries for Apple

I’m not sure, but you may have heard about the newest generation of the Jesus Phone. It comes out next Friday from Apple and AT&T. The preorders for it started yesterday.

I was running a fever yesterday. A pretty bad one. So when I say I was up at 4am trying to buy one of these, I want to make it clear that it was because I couldn’t sleep from the fever – NOT because I was waiting for the preorder to come up.

When I attempted the preorder process at 4am, I was greeted with a server time out once I made the jump from Apple’s site to AT&T’s billing servers. Ok, I thought, this is probably just them not syncing up yet. The sale did just go online a few minutes ago. I laid back down and tried it a few hours later, 7am-ish, maybe.

Imagine what it would be like to be in an fighter aircraft in the middle of a dogfight – and lose. Imagine the sounds. The screaming of the bending, ripping metal. The unmuffled roar of jet engine and wind. Because those must’ve been the sounds the servers were making when I attempted to preorder a second time. It didn’t get any better for the rest of the day.

Gizmodo has a pretty descriptive rundown of every thing that went to shit for Apple and AT&T yesterday. From the servers giving you access to some one else’s billing history to AT&T stores resorting to their “fail-safe” pen and paper preordering.

Bottom line, this was one of the biggest clusterfucks in the history of retail sales. And it was entirely AT&T’s fault.

Sometimes, in situations like this, a company launches a product and gets legitimately overwhelmed by the consumer response. A perfect example is Blizzard’s launch of World of Warcraft. Within a week of launch, every single retail CD key had been activated and was in use. The game was kissing 3 million active users, when even the best analysts said it would do good to hit a million its first quarter. Servers were melting left and right. But, they recovered from it and now maintain the largest and most successful online game in history.

AT&T had the same problems with the original iPhone launch. The authorization servers went down and didn’t come back up for almost two days. People had their shiny new Jesus Phones, but they couldn’t use them. Things went smoother for the 3G and 3Gs launches. It looked like while their cellular network might be straining to the breaking point under the weight of all those dataplans, their billing and authorization servers were finally, FINALLY, up to the task of launching products.



What always boggles my mind when things like this happen is that the retailer is always “surprised” by the amount of traffic they get. Which is funny, considering, you know, they know exactly how many people on their network are eligible for an upgrade deal (which is more than ever because of the special early-upgrade deal they did), they have metrics on how many people will pay the premium to upgrade anyway, and they have previous history to know how many “gawker”-types they are going to have. The numbers are right there. All they had to do was support those numbers plus a little bit more.

And they couldn’t do it. They couldn’t even come close to doing it. Everything was either broken or just flat shut down. There were fucking AT&T stores closing because their only business was preorders and they couldn’t do them.

But all that was yesterday. The tsunami of web traffic has subsided 24 hours later. Things are working now. Except, what’s that? The iPhone 4 is now back-ordered to July 2 at the earliest. Wonderful. Absolutely wonderful.

AT&T is expected to sell 9.5 million iPhone 4s within a month of their launch. Which probably puts the views somewhere in the 12 million range. And while that is a lot, especially if they swarm the server all at once, Blizzard clears more than that same number every day in World of Warcraft. Millions more than that number, in fact. And they don’t seem to have a problem with it.

I guess it really comes down to the fact that AT&T doesn’t have to work for your money. They have the Jesus Phone locked into an exclusivity contract, even if it is killing their entire cellular network. Why should they spend any money on upgrading servers or networks when the simple truth is that people want the iPhone, and will deal with shit to get it.

I’m not sure what I’m going to do at this point. My 3G is more dead than alive, which is why this upgrade was so important for me. But I’m not sure if chaining myself to AT&T, as well as the Apple App store’s black hole, is worth it if things like this continue to happen.

Regardless, way to fuck up, AT&T. Way to fuck up.

EDIT: Barely had time to get this up before AT&T completely suspended preorders.

EDIT 2: Apple sent out a press release saying they sold 600,000 preorder units. Which is funny, since you’d assume they’d have more than that. I mean, it’s not like they were trying to sell millions of them this month or anything.

EDIT 3: Preorders now being kicked back to July 14. Stores better be overflowing with retail units come launch day.

Did you ever watch a TV show that started off really great with an interesting plot and dynamic characters, only to have it take a nose dive into Crapsville, but you couldn’t make yourself stop watching because you were “invested” in it?

(Surprisingly enough, I’m not talking about HEROES.)


I’m using invested here in both a literal and a figurative sense.

I’ll start with figuratively.

Apple’s iPhone has the current cultural cache of identity when people think of smartphones. If some one is using a data device on television, it’s an iPhone (unless a carrier besides AT&T is a sponsor). In less than four years, Apple has completely taken over the smartphone industry, and blown the market wide open in the process. More and more people are getting iPhones, and nearly everyone who has an iPhone is getting apps for that iPhone. This process of adding to the phone makes it a more personal device for that user. It may start out like everyone else’s, but given a few days or weeks, that phone and the content and applications on it is unique to that person. It is the telecommunications equivalent to a pair of custom-made Chuck Taylors. People become invested in their iPhones, some even become addicted to them. Hell, my girlfriend’s barely had her for two months and she can’t be away from the thing. This is what Apple wants since it is a sign of a good product and fosters brand loyalty like nothing else.

The literal side of investment is in those little app that people are using to make their iPhones unique to them. Some of them are free, a lot of them are paid, and nearly all of the good ones are paid. Me? I’ve laid out at most twenty bucks in the two years I’ve had my phone. My roommate? Close to a hundred in less than half that amount of time. Those two dollar amounts are both investments we’ve made in our phones that we would lose if we ever swapped platforms. You see, all of those apps that I love are trapped inside of Apple’s cleverly designed web. I can’t trade in my iPhone version of an app for, say, the Android version of that same app. So, even if an amazing Android phone dropped today, you’d have to count the cost of buying all of those apps you love against the price of the new phone. The longer people go with Apple’s iPhone, the harder it will be for them to change to another platform when Apple’s star eventually wanes, as has happened before and will happen again.

An interesting corollary to this, but a man recently sold his Steam account (a digital distribution system for video games) for $1000. Now what did the person who bought this account on eBay get besides a username and a password? Access to every video game that person had purchased through Steam. 139 of them, to be exact, worth approximately $2700 new. The question is, how long until people start selling fully loaded iTunes accounts with all of the apps you’ve bought as p packaged item?

$200 iTunes Gift Certificates are selling for less than $3 in China now that a group of local hackers has circumvented Apple’s algorithm for creating the digital vouchers and built their own gift certificate generators.

The best part? Cracking an open code like that isn’t illegal. In fact, the only illegal activity that could stem from this is if they were misrepresenting what they were selling as official iTunes gift certificates, which they aren’t. A moderate amount of searching can find you some auctions for the pirated numbers, if you are so inclined.

See this url?

Click on it. You’ll get this:

{ “Date Generated” = “2008-08-07 15:24:20 Etc/GMT”; “BlackListedApps” = { “com.mal.icious” = { “Description” = “Being really bad!”; “App Name” = “Malicious”; “Date Revoked” = “2004-02-01 08:00:00 Etc/GMT”; }; }; }

What is all of that? It is a placeholder string that will hold black listed iPhone applications. Now, I have no problem with Apple blacklisting applications for violations of their TOS or being malware or some such thing, but what I have a problem with is how they are doing it.

That url I just pointed you toward? Your iPhone is hardwired to ping it at an unknown interval of time and check to see if any of your applications are on the list. If they are, those applications are probably locked and deleted.

Apple is keeping passive watch over all the iPhones in the land, something that Symbian, the Nokia OS that has an application marketplace like Apple, swore that they would never do because of the privacy invasion problems that a passive track brings up. If the biggest cellphone manufacturer in the world was scared of application checks like the one Apple is doing running afoul of European privacy courts, then you know that some people are going to have some hard questions for Apple.


I’ve been wrestling with AT&T and Apple all morning to get my number transfered over correctly.

I am now playing catch up, so don’t expect much out of me until later tonight.

World wide, 1 million sold in 72 hours. Which, if you look at their phone::hour ratio, they were selling faster when they launched the original one. Plus, they only launched the original one on the States, they launched this one in 21 countries. It isn’t bad, it just isn’t the home run from the first one. Especially since there isn’t a revenue sharing agreement attached to this phone.

Regardless, if you got one, have fun watching your 3G speeds slowly crawl to a halt as more and more people use the bandwidth.

-Apple’s E-Z Pay service in the stores.
-Apple’s iTunes validation servers for new phone activation.
-AT&T’s authorization servers for new phone numbers.

Basically, you are welcome to buy an iPhone, but you just won’t be able to call anyone on it.

What’s funny is that this is pretty much exactly what happened a year ago when they did this. They didn’t learn their lesson, apparently.

Ebony and Ivory

Meet the 3g iPhone.

Coming to the world on July 11th. $200 for a 8gb, $300 for a 16gb.

We’re an hour into the opening keynote, and it has been nothing but solid app demos.

People are so bored that Apple’s stock price is falling. It is off 5 points since the keynote started.

Steve, shut up and get to the damned iPhone.

Apple’s giant developer conference out in San Fransisco opens up today. Normally I don’t really care about developer conferences over consumer expos because it usually isn’t product driven.

Today will be different.

Steve Jobs is pulling back the curtain on the 3g iPhone 2.0, and if all rumors hold true, announcing that you can buy them from your nearest AT&T or Apple store once his speach is done. All of the Apple online stores in the world are down right now, which is a sure-fire sign that something is coming.

Jobs takes the stage at 10 am left coast/1pm right coast time. Noon for all of my friends that are reading this.

Live blogs are here:

Cross you fingers for a subsidized $199 iPhone.

I’m not sure how I missed this, but if you use iTunes, there are thousands of hours of lectures, videos and historical recording available for you to download. I don’t have time to dig through it right now, but I plan to in the future.

iTunes U.

 Dmitri “Pretty Boy” Medvedev loves his MacBook Pro

You and the new Russia president, Dmitri “Pretty Boy” Medvedev, have something in common it appears.

That’s the story according to Walt Mossberg of the WSJ. It fits in line with all the other signs. Apple has been ramping up orders of new touch screen displays and 3g chipsets in the past few months. Plus, dropping a 3g phone would go hand-in-hand with the launch of the first SDK products.

And, conveniently for me, it’ll mark my 2 year contract-free anniversary with T-Mobile. The perfect time for me to make that jump.

People have had a weekend to chew through some of the iPhone SDK stuff, and have pulled out a glaring flaw: no non-Apple developer can have access to the background processes of the phone.

To lay-man that for you, all modern computers allow for multi-tasking. Right now I am writing in a web browser as iTunes plays and I upload a file to my FTP. That’s because the other programs are able to tap into the background processes of the computer. On an iPhone, however, you can only do one of those at a time. Say for instance I was in the middle of a game of SPORE, and suddenly my phone rings. Well, the game just ends right then and there. No pause, no save, it just craps out as the primary phone program forces itself to the front. What if you were using AIM and you got a phone call or an email? You’d lose any unread IMs and would be signed out of AIM. Which blows.

Apple is doing an excellent job of taking 10 steps forward and 9 steps back with the iPhone.

Story broken here.

iFund – 100 million dollars in venture capital to help foster new applications for the iPhone platform.

Android Community – 10 million dollars in venture capital for application development for Google’s open source, multi device phone OS.

Apple just beat Google by a factor of 10. And no one saw this coming. It was one of Steve’s “one more thing” moments. This explains a lot of the cold air passing between Google and Apple lately.

Additionally, the iPhone SDK comes out in about 20 minutes, so we’ll have a full break down of what you can and can’t do to the phone by the end of the week. But, from everything they’ve shown today, they lapped the competition about three times in this 90 minute session.

SEGA is on stage right now at the Apple event talking about using the iPhone SDK for games.
I need new pants.

Edit: Fuck me, these are words that sing in my ears like celestial choirs…

“Super Monkey Ball was a natural choice.”

Super Monkey Ball on an iPhone

Its supposed to be for the iPhone SDK (software development kit). Jobs will be laying out the capabilities of the SDK, and who they are going to let get their mits on it. But, ultimately, the news that comes out after this won’t be about what the SDK can do, it will be about what they aren’t letting it do. Which looks to be a whole hell of a lot.

And I’ll find out whether or not I’m buying a MacBook Air or one of the spiffy new .75 inch thick Dell laptops that are dropping soon.

Live blogs here:

Netflix just flicked a switch, and now all 6,000 odd movies they have in their streaming library are free to all Netflix subscribers, no matter their plan.

This is a massive middle finger to Apple, who are expected to announce some major tweaks to their iTunes/Apple TV products that are thought to make it more of a streaming rental sort of thing.

Netflix single handedly killed the video rental industry, and then Blockbuster and Walmart’s attempts to crack the market. Looks like they just took down Apple’s attempt to compete with a single shot.

Story was broken here at the Boy Genius Report.

Dual Quad-Core MacPro towers and a new version of X Serve are out today, a week before MacWorld. Its normally unusual for Apple to drop products a week before their big event, but if the rumors are true, they probably wanted to use the CES news cycle to get some of their standard upgrades out of the way instead of losing them to the big announcements of a new laptop line, plus a new record label, plus a new rental service. Still, those new towers are fucking beasts. 8 cores of ass-kicking with support for up to 4 graphics cards (just in time for the new nVidia quad SLI cards, I might add) means that we’re looking at one of the top 5 most powerful desktops on the planet. And, oddly enough for Apple, on that’s about a grand cheaper than the Alienware/HP/Dell variant gaming rigs.

Oh, the new towers can also support up to 8 30″ cinema displays at once. But, all that’s good for is giving yourself head cancer and a tan.

10 days until MacWorld and I get specs on my new laptop.

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