Apple's Holiday Headache

It seems Apple fanboys and fangirls who found an iPod Touch under the tree this year also got a big hunk of coal from Jolly Old St. Steve.

When users connected their just-out-of-the-ribbon-and-wrapping iPods to the iTunes service, they were prompted to update the device's firmware to Version 2.2. That's when Scrooge stepped in with a big fat error message:

"There was a problem downloading the iPod software for the iPod 'My Ipod.' You do not have permission to access the requested resource."

Apparently the iTunes servers had drunk a bit too much egg nog the night before and were trying to sleep it off, leaving untold numbers of iTouch users without their toys on Christmas morning. Cringester B. M. is spittin' mad about it:

"It appears Apple couldn't figure out that lots and lots of people would be attempting to load the latest software version onto their iTouch devices on Christmas day. As a result, thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, of new owners are now pissed as Hell at the boys in Cupertino. My son's delight at getting an iTouch turned to bitterness at the realization he can't load any software onto it."

Apple support forums and Yahoo Answers are filled with scores of similar complaints, though some iTouchers report they were finally able to get through and update their devices yesterday.

If this sounds kinda familiar, it's because something similar happened last July, when Apple opened its App Store, launched its MobileMe cloud service, updated its mobile OS, and opened the floodgates to iPhone 3G activation -- all in the space of about 24 hours. Even St. Steve had to eat crow and admit they screwed the pooch big time.

As holiday disasters go, this isn't on the scale of Disney's 1994 debacle, when its Lion King CD-ROM shipped with untested video drivers, ruining Christmas for thousands of children. Still, you'd think the Company That Knows How would actually know to bump up its bandwidth before, say, a holiday where it traditionally sells truckloads of new products in need of updates.

Makes me wonder how many times Apple can test the patience of its faithful before they start to lose faith -- all but the die-hard fundamentalist fanboys, at least.

Have you been burned by Apple? Post your tales of woe below, or e-mail me here: cringe (at) infoworld (dot) com.

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