Organising a nun shoot in a convent isn't the single most challenging task in the world. Launching a hotly-anticipated product globally, on the other hand, is a little harder.
While it was always going to be spun by Apple as a "demonstration of the extraordinary demand for iPhone 3G", it's also a demonstration of the extraordinary inability to ensure a more than adequate infrastructure is in place.
Was it a surprise that demand for the 3G iPhone was going to be huge? No -- Apple's technology is advanced, desirable and elegant. People want its stuff because it's quite simply better than everything else.
This shouldn't surprise anyone.
So put in place an infrastructure of servers and resources you estimate you'll need based on last time, then add more still. Hell, outsource it to Google -- Mozilla did. How else could it serve up eight million copies of Firefox 3 in 24 hours?
Whatever you think of Apple, it's not a stupid company. In a world where a home games console can number crunch for protein folding research at near-supercomputer level, putting enough Xeons in place to process a signing up process shouldn't be seen as an impossible challenge.