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Another iPhone opening sales, day, another disaster, brought to you by AT&T and Apple. If you tried to pre-order an iPhone yesterday, then you know what I'm talking about.

I got to enjoy the full monty of this Keystone Kops performance. I was upgrading my iPhone 3G and my wife's phone. As these are upgrades, Apple checks with AT&T to see if you qualify for the lowest pricing. Apparently, AT&T's hamster was on life support, because they would respond only once out of every 10-15 attempts (and yeah, I made a lot of attempts!). You'd see a screen saying Apple was checking with AT&T and then you'd often get told that Apple couldn't connect. It only took me from 6 AM to 7:30 PM, trying most of that time to get through.

For those not upgrading, it supposedly was a bit easier, as there was no need to contact AT&T. But that didn't mean you were out of the woods. In those rare occasions when I would get past the AT&T servers, Apple's servers would then time out on the next screen while "processing." I even got to the point where I got an "add to cart" button before it crapped out.

Now, I've been on the other end of this situation – trying to keep overwhelmed servers from outright dying and at least getting some of the transactions through, so I feel for the guys running the equipment. But you'd think that neither of these companies had done this before. What's also is scary is thinking about the 24th, when all those phones go online – will AT&T be overwhelmed again as we try and activate all these phones? It's not like that hasn't already happened in the past.

Nearly lost in all the grumbling was the unveiling of the new MacMini. This looks like a nice machine – even shorter, with the power brick gone (I hate those things!) and HDMI and an SD card reader added. Unfortunately, the price also went up $100 (to $699 for the low end), but Apple finally made the Mini easy to crack open. The bottom opens up so that you can easily add memory (not sure it will help much with changing out the hard drive, though).  So you can put away the putty knives (at last!).

Poor Mini gets no love. Brought out the same day as the new iPhone and with the ordering fiasco, I wonder how many will even remember it got updated.

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  • Jay

    If it was a circus in 2007, 2008, and 2009, why would anyone expect anything different this year? Why would anyone knowing this not wait a day or a week?

    • Waiting a day or even several hours will likely mean that they will sell out before you place your order. So true, if you’re not in a hurry you can wait. However, isn’t that always the case? I’m sure they just sold a bunch of iPhone 3GS’ a few months ago to people who “waited”. There was no line and they got them immediately. 🙂

  • Jack

    Jay, it certainly wasn’t this bad. And yes, I did want one on day 1, so facing a crush is the price I paid. But this was far worse than either of the other phones I bought.

  • Jack Beckman

    Oh, and they *did* sell out last night around 10:30. Orders after that are showing as shipping on July 2nd.