Apple warns iPhone 3G S activations may take up to 2 days

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In a near repeat of problems that plagued last year's iPhone 3G launch, Apple's iPhone activation servers are showing signs of buckling under the pressure of hundreds of thousands of customers who are attempting to activate their new handsets and warning of delays that could span two days.

"Your activation requires additional time to complete. Due to the current activation volumes, it may take up to 48 hours to resolve your issue," reads a message spit out by iTunes when attempting to activate a new iPhone 3G S after the hours of noon Eastern time on Friday. "We will send a confirmation to [your email address] once your activation is complete."

Apple, in the same message, apologizes for the inconvenience and says that customers can proceed to setup their new handsets and explore features that do not require access to AT&T's network. After disconnecting from iTunes, a message appears on the iPhone 3G S's screen that says: "Waiting for activation. This may take some times."

While many customers acquiring their new iPhones in Europe or during the early morning hours in the US reported activating their devices quickly and without issue, AppleInsider can corroborate that activations delays are spreading rapidly. Both our new iPhone 3G S's remain in the state seen in the below image.

The activation issues draw parallels to the high-tech meltdown that spoiled last year's iPhone 3G launch from the onset, leaving thousands of customers with iPhones that couldn't function or make calls, as the iTunes servers required to fully activate them were knocked offline for extended periods of time.

Friday's complications underscore the complexity Apple faces in orchestrating a multi-national product launch of such scale, but also signals that despite having two years of past experience under its belt, the Cupertino-based company is still unable to accurately prepare its systems for the beating they'll take on day one.