Giuseppe Taibi’s Techlog

Impressions and bookmarks about my technology journeys

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iPhone and Me – bittersweet story of a tech geek and his much hyped new gadget

June 30th, 2007 · 5 Comments

Grrr Cartoon - source http://littlemissmay.com/images/blog06/060728_grrr.jpg

Foreground That’s how it went. Last night at 10pm I was in Davis Square with my MacBook and decided that I better place an order online for securing a chance to get the iPhone that I have been waiting for so long. Right, because I can’t stand my “dumbphone” Nokia 6682 from Cingular. Even though I have a $20/month all-that-you-can-eat data plan, the email client on the Nokia and or the EDGE wireless network suck sooo badly that I practically need to restart the phone every time that I want to download my email. Almost as if it were a Microsoft product instead of a Nokia. Yes, I did also upgraded the firmware to the latest version. Wasted time. Cingular support is a joke. It takes always at least 20 minutes before speaking with a “support” rep for just about anything, who then asks you again all the codes and pins that I have already typed “in order to speed-up customer service response time” – Grrrr…

1. In Davis Square So I sit on a bench near a busker that is playing beautiful Simon & Garfunkel oldies with his guitar and harmonica, fire up my MacBook, pick from one of the many open WiFi networks available in Davis Square and place an order on the Apple store. Done! Ahhhh. I feel reliefed now…I can go back home and wait a couple of weeks until the thing is shipped. Wait a moment! A couple of weeks ?!?!? Nonononono…Hey, what time is it? 11pm? Hmm…maybe I can try to get to the Apple store before midnight and, who knows, buy an iPhone and be done with it. It is worth a try. I hop on the red line to Kendall and walk towards the Apple store.

2. At Apple Store   At 11:30pm I am at the store and – lucky me – there is no line! So I just walk to the Genius Bar, pick up my 4Gigs iPhone and take a cab ride home eager to activate my new shiny gadget and dump my old piece of Nokia junk.

3. Home At Last!    The evening is fresh and the radio plays great jazz. The atmosphere is perfect so I take the beautifully designed iPhone box out of the matching shopping bag (!), carefully discard the plastic wrap and with a palpitating heart lift the glossy cardboard lid. There it is. I can see it. It is my brand new iPhone, finally! I gently remove the plastic protection that wraps it and the iPhone is now naked and ready for being plugged into my MacBook for its initiation ritual. Uh-oh! Not so fast…First, iTunes asks me to be upgraded to the latest version (umphf!). 20 minutes later I am ready to try again but iTunes is still not ready (double umphf!). This time it wants me to update OS X to the latest version, then reboot the MacBook (aarrgghhhhh!). Keep it cool, man…keep it cool…ok, ok, download, install, reboot….have a glass of water, get up, walk, stretch, sit down and start over… I plug iPhone one more time into my MacBook, iTunes starts up automagically, and HURRAY! it recognizes the iPhone without complaining. Now it will be only a matter of minutes before completing the activation of the iPhone and begin using it, right? Not so fast…it is now Cingular’s opportunity to mess-up things. I have been a deeply unhappy Cingular (AT&T…whatever…) customer for more than 1 year but I figured that this was going to be payoff time for all the awful waits and disservice that I had to endure: assigning my exisitng phone number to the iPhone should be a breeze, right ? Certainly easier than transfering a phone number from another carrier, right ? WRONG! Simply put, AT&T (Cingular…whatever…) does not allow customers with a business account type to activate an iPhone on that account! As a workaround, I look for the form that allows me to convert my business account into a consumer account. Nope! No way! Nada! Niet! Can’t do it, pal! How miserable! How pathetic! How insane! Basically, if I were a Verizon wireless business customer, I would have been able to transfer my existing phone number to a new AT&T account in a couple of clicks. INSTEAD, as a current AT&T business account holder I do not have that option available. How frustrating can this be? It is all spoiled now. Forget about the so much hyped Apple ease of activation. Well, that is a bit unfair to Apple, the real screwupper here is AT&T/Cingular/Whatever (ATTCW).

4. The Morning After  After an unfruitful visit to the local ATTCW retail store in Central Square this morning, I have resorted to creating a new consumer account from iTunes that will have a new phone number. This will allow me to at least activate the iPhone and play with it for this weekend. I can also cancel the new account within 30 days. On Monday, I will call ATTCW and talk their ear off until they roll the new consumer account into my existing business account, assign my old phone number to the iPhone, and then cancel the new consumer account. Wish me luck!

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5 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Paul Levinson // Jun 30, 2007 at 5:28 pm

    iPhone was a long time coming – it was predicted in 1979

  • 2 Brian // Jun 30, 2007 at 7:23 pm

    Well – I just got my iphone and immediately tried to use itunes for the activation. I currently am an AT&T user and have been for years. I also have a business account.

    Of course, I couldn’t activate the phone…. so I dialed the provided number to switch from a business to personal line. When doing so, I was prompted that the wait time “could be UP TO 10 minutes”. Well friends – the wait time was an hour. Bummer.

    When I finally got through to someone, I have to say that they were initially quick and helpful. Basic info – address, ss #, etc, etc. Then things slowed down a bit, asking for more and more info… great…

    Well, after a while we got it all done – only took about 10 min total.

    I went onto the itunes registration and the process worked this time and was fairly quick and painless UNTIL the dreaded “your order will take additional time to process, please look for an email

    Two MAJOR problems:

    1. Not being able to just activate the phone w/ having a business account. That sucks.. My business has spent TONS of money a/ ATTCW and now this – thanks guys…
    2. Waiting for activation to be completed… I did all this crap, now I’m waiting for an email confirming my activation. Awesome. thanks again guys…

    Oh well, guess I’ll fire up my old $20 phone again. At least that one works…

  • 3 yus // Jun 30, 2007 at 8:34 pm

    Hi Brian, thank you for sharing your experience. Which phone number did you call for getting assistance from ATTCW ? I would like to try it because normally the business customer service (ahahah) is open Mon-Fri from 8-5.

  • 4 Alessandro // Jul 1, 2007 at 4:16 pm

    Ciao Giuseppe,

    this is an adventure!!!
    Hopefully you got it working.

    Alessandro

  • 5 PunkyAmerica // Jul 4, 2007 at 11:38 pm

    It’s great picturing you sitting in Davis Square next to the busker. Though I now live far away in Marblehead, I was both a Davis Square hangouter and busker, back in the day.

    No I-phone yet.