An Apple employee was working her way down the line getting customers partially checked in while they stood in line. After about 30 minutes, she asked me if I had an AT&T account. When I told her I did, she proceeded to pull up my account only to find that I could not buy an iPhone at the store because I had a corporate discount. She told me to call an AT&T number and have it cleared. I made two phone calls to AT&T over the next 30 minutes before they were able to correct my account settings. Now I was ready to buy my new iphone!
When I made it inside to the sales person, he asked when I bought my current phone. When I told him 6 months ago, he told me "the iPhone will be $399" instead of $199. The $199 price is only for new accounts or for accounts over two years old. He also told me I could go to my local AT&T store to see if one of my other family plan accounts could be used. Needless to say I was a little upset that the first Apple worker failed to mention the $399 price before I stood in line for over an hour.
Later that day, I headed over to the AT&T store where a very friendly worker explained that one of my phones was eligble for an upgrade. She explained how to go buy the iPhone on the other account and then come back to her and get the numbers switched so that I could keep my old number on the iPhone.
The next day, I headed back to the Apple store. This time the line was only thirty minutes and I was walking out the door with my new iPhone 3G after another 15 minutes. I immediately headed over to the AT&T store and had my numbers switched. At last, a new iPhone was mine.
The problems resumed the next day when I noticed that Visual Voicemail was not working! Back to the Apple store where I was told that voicemail was an AT&T problem and that I should call AT&T customer support. What they did not tell me was that AT&T does not have phone support on Sundays. I guess AT&T customers never have problems on Sundays.
So, I was off to the AT&T store to see if they could help me. Once there, the AT&T worker fiddled with the "special access" phone support that he was able to access on Sundays. After about 15 minutes, they told him to call Apple support!
The AT&T worker spent about 15 more minutes with Apple support and the Visual Voicemail problem was fixed at last. Does anyone think it is strange that an AT&T worker could get Apple customer support to fix my iPhone when the Apple Store could not???
A few days later, I started setting up all my email accounts to work with the iPhone. I expected problems to arise especially with my Microsoft Exchange based work account. At this point, you might be feeling a bit of dread, I know I was.
Surprise! My Gmail, Yahoo mail, and Outlook email accounts all worked great, but my Mobile Me email would only send but not receive messages. Since all the others worked great, I assumed that I had set up the Mobile Me account incorrectly. Time to head back to the Apple Store for some expert help.
The Apple worker tried deleting my Mobile Me account and checked the settings against his own iPhone 3G. Still no messages would show up in my Mobile Me mailbox. We even looked online and my Mobile Me mailbox was empty there as well.
The next step was to go online in the Apple Store and try "chat" support for Mobile Me. The Apple worker told me that I might be one of the unlucky Mobile Me users that he had been hearing about. After waiting about 10 minutes, I began a chat session and went through several trouble shooting tricks. After about 20 more minutes, the Apple support person told me that Apple would be giving me 60 more free days on my Mobile Me account and that they would email me when Mobile Me was fixed. I went home with my crippled iPhone 3G, but without a working Mobile Me account.
It has been 2 weeks now and I have not received the magic email from Apple telling me that Mobile Me is finally working correctly. It is amazing to me that Apple can build a great mobile phone but are unable to make their own email program function.
Perhaps the next t-shirt Apple gives to its workers should say, "All Pain, NO GAIN".