Apple's new iPhone 3G preorder system creates class divisions in line

Summary:Apple changed their policy and methods for getting an iPhone 3G and it may be ticking off some customers because the process is not clear and creates a division in the people who lined up to buy the latest iPhone. Unfortunately, I was one of those who experienced the problem and even now cannot figure out how to "properly" preorder an iPhone. I think of myself as a pretty tech savvy guy and if you read through this email and went through a different process would you please leave a Talkback or email me so I can try to see where the process fell apart for me.

Apple changed their policy and methods for getting an iPhone 3G and it may be ticking off some customers because the process is not clear and creates a division in the people who lined up to buy the latest iPhone. Unfortunately, I was one of those who experienced the problem and even now cannot figure out how to "properly" preorder an iPhone. I think of myself as a pretty tech savvy guy and if you read through this email and went through a different process would you please leave a Talkback or email me so I can try to see where the process fell apart for me.

A couple of days ago I went to the Apple website onto the iPhone 3G S page. I selected Buy iPhone>Get Started and then filled out my AT&T info (billing, social, etc.), then selected a rate plan, then reviewed and continued, then chose store and that was it. I was sent the following email:

Dear MATTHEW, Thanks for starting your iPhone purchase online. To finish the process, come to your nearest Apple Retail Store and look for a Concierge in an orange shirt. We'll help you complete your purchase, activate your new iPhone, and set it up for you. Find a storeFind a store Make sure to bring these items with you:

  • A valid, government-issued photo ID
  • Your Social Security number
  • A debit or credit card

We look forward to seeing you. The Apple Retail Store team

I was in line about 2:30 am and then at 6:30 am an Apple employee came through the line checking off pre-order names and said my name as not on the list. I showed her the printed out email and also the email on my T-Mobile G1 so she went inside to check. She them came out and said that was a pre-authorization and not a preorder. I said I went through the online Apple system twice to make sure I preordered since they never asked for my credit card or anything else. The store that appeared by default was for a store closer to my house and not my work, but I selected the store at University Village. She didn't care and said since I was not on the list I would have to go to the end of the other non-preorder line and stand behind those 30 people even though I was the 8th person in line this morning. And to top it off, those "second class" citizens would be served after the preorder people were done.

I was ticked to say the least (sorry if some of my Twitter posts were a bit flaming at that time) and decided to take off and go to work rather than wait another couple of hours for Apple to serve me.

I sold my iPhone 3G yesterday and really do want the 3G S and maybe a new 13 inch MacBook, but want to show my anger by not supporting Apple at this time. I don't know if I can hold out though and may see if there are any available at another store later tonight after work, I am such a sucker and Apple must know it.

Then again, my Nokia N97 is a pretty slick phone and maybe I'll just stick with that and forget about the iPhone until I cool down a bit.

Why can't Apple keep their same in person policy as before where it was always a first-come, first-served lineup? Do they really want to tick off loyal customers who wait hours in line only to be told to go to another line and wait until after we serve "premium" customers?

Topics: Mobility, Apple, Collaboration, Hardware, iPhone, Wi-Fi

About

Matthew Miller started using a mobile devices in 1997 and has been writing news, reviews, and opinion pieces ever since. He is a co-host with GigaOM's Kevin Tofel on the MobileTechRoundup podcast and an author of three Wiley Companion series books. Matthew started using mobile devices with a US Robotics Pilot 1000 and has owned over 200 d... Full Bio

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