I’d call you to brag about my new iPhone, but it isn’t activated. Probably won’t be until later this afternoon. It looks cool, though.

So here’s the marketing angle. Why is Apple, the brand of brands, having such difficulty in launching a new product … again? Did you not learn anything the last time around? Did you not have the “what went right, what went wrong, what will we do different next time” meeting after last year’s bang-up launch?

I understand you tried to lock the phone down so it won’t work on other carriers, and that has lead to many of today’s problems. Tell me, how’s that working out for you? Challenge a nerd that you can’t break their system and you know they will. Call it the Gary Hart Syndrome. It seems the only thing you got for forcing immediate activation is lots of bad press.

The systems are crashing left and right, and the 1.0 users can’t upgrade. Now I’m hearing it’s a software bug that is keeping the phones from being activated. Ugh. I think you need to hire some of those guys from Gizmodo to help you out.

Some Casual Observations from the Front Lines
There were long lines of people camping out in front of the stores (I got there at 6:30 and was 33rd in line) for no reason, really. Why not allow people to pre-purchase or reserve? That would pace customers coming into the store over a couple days, and alleviate some of the back-up on the systems.

Where were all the “chiefs” who could do the problem solving this morning? While everyone in my store was really nice, poor Dave was just being run ragged: “Dave, I need a 16 white.” “Dave, I’ve never seen this on the screen before.” “Dave, I need a jawbone.” Dave had to problem solve and was one of only two people allowed in the stock room to get the phones.

This one’s for the guy I met at 6:30 this morning: Thanks for all the free water while we waited in line. Now, how about access to your bathrooms?

And finally, why all the upgrading hassles? Stop changing the rules mid-stream. I’ve been an AT&T customer since three or four phone companies ago. I’m on a family plan with three phones, two of which are eligible for upgrade. Yesterday I was told no problem using any of the upgrades for the iPhone for my number. Today there was a problem and I had to shell out an extra $200 for a phone that isn’t activated yet.

But it looks really good sitting on my desk.