Activation problems plague iPhone launch

SAN JOSE, Calif.

Some Apple die-hards were hoping for a radically redesigned new model -- an iPhone 5 -- because it's been more than a year since Apple's previous model was released. Some shoppers also reported problems with one of the phones primary carriers.

Apple's latest iPhone arrived to enthusiastic buyers camped out at stores across the country Friday morning, including the AT&T store in North Fresno. But observers noted the crowds were significantly smaller than those at previous releases.

"There was no line, walked straight in and got my phone." said Ryan Green of Fresno.

"Were you surprised?"

"Yes, less than 20 minutes."

For starters, the iPhone 4S is more widely available than in the past. The phone is now sold in 7 countries, and in addition to apple stores, people can buy the device directly from AT&T, Sprint and Verizon. Buyers were also able to pre-order the phone and have it shipped to their home or office.

Some shoppers we talked with said they bought the new 4S to honor Apple co-founder Steve Jobs after he died last week. Others said they waited months for a faster processor and more bells and whistles.

"This one has a better camera, better video and I have a daughter so it's better for pictures and video and all that," said Stephanie Pyle of Fresno.

But not everyone left the store happy.

David Ruiz owns and operates phone-medics in Fresno. He's been inundated with phone calls from frustrated AT&T subscribers complaining of activation issues. "I think it's because it's been the best selling iPhone to date. Apple said they sold over one million, and AT&T I believe the number was over 200,000."

Many owners said the process got hung up when the device displayed a screen stating it may take several minutes to activate the phone. Ruiz recommends holding tight. He says the network is overwhelmed by the number of people trying to connect.

"Their activation request is in the queue and they're going to have to wait. The system will release an email once the activation is complete."

Ruiz said the last time this happened some AT&T customers had to wait up to 24 hours for their phone to be activated. This time the company is competing for business along side Sprint and Verizon.

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