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

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.

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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

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Talkback

32 comments
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  • Nothing wrong with preorder systems

    As long as the preorder system is available to everyone, I don't see this as a class division.

    However, it is unfortunate that Apple created such an unintuitive system that even someone as savvy as you could not use it effectively. :( Hopefully they'll fix it next year.
    NonZealot
    • Went through the same strange system

      I followed all of the prompts for "pre-order" on Apple's web site. Entered AT&T info., etc. Got to the end and it sent me an email saying I had "reserved" an iPhone 3GS 32GB Black. BUT - it never asked for a credit card. Then, I got two emails during the week reminding me that I need to go to the Apple store.

      When I head there later today, what should I expect? It sounds like I might get hosed, too. Technically, if they charge your credit card, isn't it a pre-purchase? I would have gladly pre-purchased the iPhone, but was never given the option on ANY page. This is irritating, to say the least.
      BillDem
      • Reserverd is Reserved

        If it shows you have reserved a phone then when you get there today you will get a phone. I had two phones to replace and one was reserved and the other showed up as a pre-authorized (but not reserved). Needless to say when I got in line this morning at 6:30 AM I was a little nervous that I was only going to get one phone. No sweat I was told we have plenty... However, our Apple store in Austin TX was handling both the Resrved and Authorized (and walkin) customers together. I twas two seperate lines, but they were not having to wait until the 300 people in the reserved line got their phones first.

        By the way I love the new 3GS it is definitely light years ahead of the the 2G iPhone that it replaces... activation worked grat 30 seconds tops in the store and iTunes worked flawlessly to restore my iPhone when I got home.
        davidvose65
    • Pre-Ordering Worked Like a Champ!

      I too went on to the Apple website on Tuesday, 6/16 and filled out the
      pre-order form. I chose the desired Apple store for pick-up. Received
      email confirming the pre-order. I went to the Apple store on Friday,
      6/19 @ about 2PM (after expecting the lines to have subsided, which they
      had). After about 15 minutes, the sales transaction was complete. After
      about 3 hours, AT&T pulled my phone number over from my previous
      cell phone carrier. The whole process, along with the eagerness to help
      by the Apple store associates here in Roseville, California was terrific.
      johnpublic@...
  • RE: Apple's new iPhone 3G preorder system creates class divisions in line

    Wait a minute -- Apple asked for your Social Security number, and you gave it to them? Over the Internet? Wow. I have this bridge you might be interested in....
    Vesicant
    • Last 4 for verification

      It was the last 4 digits of my SSN to verify my AT&T account.
      palmsolo (aka Matthew Miller)
  • RE: Apple's new iPhone 3G preorder system creates class divisions in line

    I wonder what happened with all of this pre-order stuff...

    I never got an option to pre-order and pay and pick up in a store. I only was allowed to "reserve" a spot to get an iPhone. I received an email yesterday reminding me to come in to get my iPhone 3GS.

    Luckily I went ahead and ordered my 3GS from the apple store and had it shipped. (My wife just called and said it has jut arrived).

    Glad I ordered and payed to have it shipped. I would have been VERY pissed if I had arrived at my Apple store and found out that I was behind people that were given the option to pre-order and pay.

    I would like to know how some customers were able to order and pay for pick up and some were not.
    Geuseppi
    • If history of ZDNet bloggers is any guide

      it is much more likely the author messed something up.
      frgough
      • Perhaps, but...

        This is where Apple should step up and realize
        that his intent was there and give him his
        phone!!!!
        claytonhinkle
      • Wouldn't that imply the system wasn't intuitive?

        From what Matthew described, it certainly wasn't intuitive that he had pre-authorized and not pre-ordered. Or do you believe that the system is intuitive and Matthew, owner of many fine Apple products and countless other cell phones, checked his order twice and didn't spot the error because he has some form of mental incompetence?
        NonZealot
        • Agree...

          The system was not intuitive. In fact, I specifically searched on every page for the option to pay in advance and never saw it. Matthew is not incompetent, the web site design simply failed.
          BillDem
        • When things go right it's Apple's awesomeness at work

          when they go wrong it's the users' fault. Like, DUUUUH!!
          Don't you know that by now?!?!
          tikigawd
      • Sorry frgough, this is clearly Apple's fault

        (yet again).

        So either 2 scenerios are possible here, both laying the blame for the mistakes or problems clearly at Apple's feet:

        1) The site is not as intuitive as it could be, as someone pointed out, then it's Apple's fault all the way.

        2) They knew that there was an issue with it and chose not to fix it, knowing many who took off from work will stay, as they cannot afford to take another day off when lines are gone.

        So you can blame it on whoever you like, those who don't worship Apple know the truth.
        GuidingLight
        • Nothing's really "intuitive"

          This is an Apple buzzword that really annoys me. Intuitive is really just what you're already used to. For something to be truly intuitive, infants would have to be able to pick it up the same way they acquire language or walking upright.
          Vesicant
          • Actually, neither language nor walking...

            are intuitive. For the most part, they are learned behaviors.

            The fear of falling is intuitive, however. I remember a Scientific American
            article many years ago about intuitive behavior.
            msalzberg
  • RE: Apple's new iPhone 3G preorder system creates class divisions in line

    It sounds to me like another Apple software product...Simple to the point of not actually giving you any info or telling you that you have actually pre-ordered or just pre-authorized. Design would have made a big difference right?

    I have an idea... Stick with your N97 (which probably works better as a phone anyway), buy a Sony Vaio Laptop, and wait a couple years until Apple gets the message during their iPhone (sort of) 3G SXF(Super Xtra Fast) rollout.

    condelirios
  • You forgot to click the "I'm willing to kiss Jobs ass" box

    Willing to be boned on a service plan isn't enough any longer... :-)
    Johnny Vegas
  • Lucky for you that this is iPhone 3G STUVXWYZ...

    I can definitely understand that this would tick someone off, as considering that even someone tech savy can't order properly, can you imagine the 'regular' customers.

    I guess you are lucky that this is a 'not so hot' update, so you can always find one in the next apple store, on the contrary of the original iPhone and Palm Pre that sold out pretty quickly and the only way to get it ASAP is paying premium in ebay or wait weeks or months for it.

    That said, the whole 'first come and first served' also applies here, those who bought it first by pre-ordering should receive it first, but they also shouldn't have to wait in line for it with all the other who pre-ordered earlier or later, there should be an order, other than that they should just fix their damn site and Matthew should buy something different like a Palm Pre.
    kok_warlock
    • Not hot?

      According to the channels, the Palm Pre sold 100,000 units in the first
      week of sales. That includes the 50,000 that sold on launch day. AT&T
      has already sold 100,000 iPhone 3GS units by opening day. The problem
      is that Palm tried to pull a Nintendo and create a market frenzy by not
      having enough units to go around. So it was a frenzy, yes. Would Palm
      have sold 100,000 on the first day if they were available?
      winski
  • if you were REALLY tech savy

    You'd wait for the Toshiba TG01 line, new Android phones, or even the new Palm Pre.

    Tech savvy wanna-bes line up for the iphone.
    JABBER_WOLF