...knew I should wait, but not for the same reasons that a bunch iPhone naysayers will bandy about. I definitely don't doubt the functionality of the device or what Jobs says it's capable of delivering.
But, Wow! Consumers can be really harsh. Of course, the tech industry as a whole has somewhat let themselves in for this by training us to expect "plug and play", instant services, etc.
I'm an existing AT&T customer. I've been an avid Mac user since 1985 and evangelize the benefits of Mac to people nearly daily. Even if I did have the budget to have gotten a couple iPhones last night I wouldn't have done it (except maybe for the atmosphere that is only avaialable at an Apple "event" like this. The people make the event as much as the opening, gadget, etc.).
With the convoluted mess that is a cell phone plan (pick your company, it isn't exclusive to Cingular/AT&T), did existing customers really think it would be instantaneous activation? That's a bit naive! When I do have enough saved to get a couple iPhones I intend to go to an Apple Store or AT&T store near my home, laptop in hand. I hope to work out all the sordid details of what I have to do with my family plan to make the iPhone usable before I buy the phone and try to activate it.
I have no faith whatsoever that I'll be able to get myself an iPhone to replace my existing phone and just be able to tack $20 per month onto my family plan. The online explanation was too simple, devoid of details for the myriad plans that exist among millions of current Cingular/AT&T customers to give me any confidence that it would be an easy move.
On the flip side, I'm not surprised at all that folks transfering a phone number from another service or setting up a new number were activated within minutes. There were no issues of traversing an existing contract, potentially incompatible existing service plan etc. They were coming to a fresh contract. Of course they were activated and up and running on the iPhone within minutes. This is still a milestone in phone activation processes. For a new number or transfer the iTunes activation is streamlined and utterly consumer friendly - pure Apple!
I feel for acquaintences who are still waiting for AT&T activation as an existing AT&T customer. I'm glad, as much as I'd like to have one of these cool phones in my hands at this moment, that I'm waiting until it makes sense to replace my existing phone. Maybe it'll be just a little smoother transition then if they're able to learn and apply anything from the intial AT&T buyer experience. (-: