It seemed obvious, didn't it? With the new in-store activation process, not only would it take longer, it would also be prone to the same sorts of server issues as last year, when customers would go home and be unable to activate. Only this time, it would in the store. Ah, the joys of early adoption.
It seems that not only was the process taking a long time, now the servers have crashed, meaning that AT&T is sending people home unactivated. As AT&T said:
We have had reports that customers attempting to download new iTunes
7.7 software to their new iPhone may get an error message saying “page
not found.” We have reported this issue to Apple. While Apple works to
resolve this issue, we are asking customers to sync their newly
activated phone later at home.
Don't forget, though, the phones still need to be unbricked, so it will still take longer than last year.
Update: BTW, if you want to
update your original iPhone to 2.0, you might also end up with an issue
because of the server problems. Recommendation: wait until this all
sorts itself out.