Friday, July 11, 2008

London launch of new iPhone buged with software problems

Software compatibility problems marred the launch of the iPhone 3G at Apple's flagship store in London, where customers had difficulty activating their new phones.

Apple has an exclusive deal with network operator O2 in the UK -- but O2's web-based activation system requires the use of Microsoft's Internet Explorer browser to register a new phone- meaning it won't work with the Safari browser bundled in Apple's Mac OS X. In its Regent Street store, Apple had installed VMware Fusion desktop virtualization software on some of its Macintosh computers, allowing them to run Internet Explorer on Windows, but the activation process was still not working.

"It just goes dead," said would-be customer Mark Phipps, who left the store frustrated and without an iPhone 3G. "They wouldn't reserve us one, which is a real kick in the teeth," he said. Phipps is one of at least three customers that left the store disappointed by the delays. Another, Josh Young, said the activation process was completely broken. He planned to return later.

The short line that had formed outside the store by the time it opened at 8 a.m. quickly moved inside, but two hours later the line had lengthened and extended out onto the street again. Further details were hard to come by: Store staff would not allow journalists inside the building.

The launch went more smoothly in Japan, where the iPhone went on sale for the first time. The first new iPhone owner emerged from the store of Apple's local partner, Softbank, within 20 minutes of the launch.

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