Check your iPhone 4 in-store pickup email, there may be multiple lines

Check your iPhone 4 in-store pickup email, there may be multiple lines

Summary: Did you pre-order online for in-store pickup next week? If so, you may find you are only authorized and will be second priority to a different level of pre-order customer when you arrive. Please help me get to the bottom of this.


I created a blog post discussing what we might expect at the Apple store on 24 June and thought I would be avoiding the problems that I had last year when I bought the iPhone 3GS. As I stated in that earlier post, I went online on launch day and went through the pre-order process (last year I waited a day too long) and received a reservation to pickup an iPhone 4 next Thursday. A reader sent me an email stating that his email confirmation email did not include the fine print that said the iPhone is sold on a first-come, first-served basis. UPDATE: That reader came back and told me the same fine print is indeed there so he won't be going to wait in line with NO guarantee an iPhone will be there for him. Even so, it appears there is the possibility that we will have another confusing day on 24 June at the Apple store with first class (pre-ordered)/coach (pre-authorized) and baggage (neither of these) lines outside the store. If you pre-ordered to pick up your iPhone 4 I would love to hear what your email confirmation states as I try to figure out if indeed there are different levels again. It looks like there may just be pre-orders and walk-ins and I would think there is very little chance you could just show up and get an iPhone. It is indeed possible that my pre-order had an issue going through the problematic system and that I ended up just with a pre-authorization.

For comparison purposes, here is the text of the email I received from

Thanks for reserving your iPhone. It will be here June 24. When you come in to pick up your iPhone, you'll be part of an exciting launch at the Apple Retail Store. We'll have Specialists ready to transfer your contacts, set up email, and help you get apps so your iPhone is just the way you like it. We can't wait to see you at the store.

Sincerely, The Apple Retail Store team

The email then shows my reserved items and rate plan with a hyperlink to cancel the reservation. Below this is the following fine print:

Pre-authorization does not guarantee iPhone availability at an Apple Retail Store. iPhone is sold on a first-come, first-served basis.

Your reservation is valid for pickup only at the Apple Retail Store that you selected.

If you do not collect your selected item(s) by the designated date and time, your reservation will be canceled.

All sales are subject to the Apple Retail Store Purchase Policies.

Apple reserves the right to refuse, limit, or cancel a reservation if Apple determines that a customer has provided misleading or fraudulent information and/or abused or disrupted the reservation system.

Please let me know if your email is different than this as I try to figure out if there are different levels of pre-ordering again at the Apple store. If it ends up that my order is just a pre-authorization and indeed is not a pre-order then I will most likely NOT be in line next week because the pre-orders will get priority on getting iPhones and if the in-store experience is anything like the online experience I doubt too many who did not pre-order will be getting an iPhone 4 next week.

It seems like confusing the customer is the order of the day when it comes to Apple and the iPhone as Joel described his experiences as well. You would think that by the fourth time doing this Apple and AT&T would get it together.

Topics: Hardware, Apple, Collaboration, iPhone, Mobility, Smartphones

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  • RE: Check your iPhone 4 in-store pickup email, there may be 3 lines next we

    Snooze, you lose I guess. I'm going to do what I did before I got my 3GS. I'm going to wait a month. It'll be nice just having the iOS4 update to play with. That's the one really nice thing I like about the iPhone, the fact you can upgrade the OS. I feel sorry for the Droid Heads, they're stuck with whatever version of Droid OS that their phones came with. They actually have to purchase a new phone if they want the latest greatest.
    • Sounds like the safest, least stressful plan

      @gtdworak That sounds like the least stressful plan and most likely what I too will do. It will be interesting to see how much better the iPhone 3GS is with the iOS 4 update.
      palmsolo (aka Matthew Miller)
    • RE: Check your iPhone 4 in-store pickup email, there may be 3 lines next week

      @gtdworak It's Android OS, not Droid OS(there are royalties being paid to Lucas Arts for the use of Droid, be careful. Anyway, the software can be updated whenever a new version comes out, users don't have to purchase a new device. However, Verizon is making it VERY hard for developers to stay on target since HTC and Motorola are crapping out new phones faster then ever. Example, Eris....not even 6 months on the market and it is end of life'd. WTF?
    • ATT says:

      @gtdworak Straight from AT&T. Every iPhone ordered has that specific customers name and number on the box.
    • RE: Check your iPhone 4 in-store pickup email, there may be 3 lines next week

      @gtdworak You really don't know what your talking about. Android actually comes out with updates for its OS 3x the rate apple does and they work with most of their phones. The only phones that usually can't be updated are the early androids such as the G1 and the Hero and even then they are almost 2 years old in life anyway. What is with the Droid heads? Are you serious? Sorry we can't all be brainwashed and told whats best by apple. If anything it is the android fans who feel sorry for fruit suckers for getting gimmick-ed into a product only comes up to the bar ... never crossing it but ever making money of poor souls who don't know any better.
  • RE: Check your iPhone 4 in-store pickup email, there may be 3 lines next week

    gtdworak=FAIL. The Android OS can be upgraded. See for an example the motorola droid which is currently running Android 2.1 It certainly didn't ship out with that version. You may want to gain a little knowledge before you go trying to insult people. You are the prototypical fanboy. You don't have a clue obviously.
  • I received the same e-mail.

    I got the same e-mail as you. I reserved it on Tuesday at like 4PM. Apple just started doing pre-authorizing after the first day supply ran out. Hopefully I'm good to go on June 24th.
  • RE: Check your iPhone 4 in-store pickup email, there may be 3 lines next week

    My e-mail confirmation says the same with the following. Also what to bring with you to the store. I actually went by the store and they told me there will be two lines, pre-order and walk in. They also said that they are holding a phone for me that day. They said the disclaimer is in the event of a shipping problem only. It was suggested that I get there around 5am should I wish to get in/out as soon as possible.

    Pickup Date and Time
    June 24th starting at 7:00am

    Please note that your reservation
    will be held until close of
    business on June 24th
  • RE: Check your iPhone 4 in-store pickup email, there may be 3 lines next week

    I ordered my iPhone 4 around 2300 on June 15th and the e-mail I received says, Ships: Delivers June 24th. Anyone else get that message? Shipping was free so I decided to skip those crazy lines (not to mention I have to work anyways).
    Mr. Z
    • RE: Check your iPhone 4 in-store pickup email, there may be 3 lines next week

      @Mr. Z I ordered mine around the same time 2230 EST and got the same email. Today, the 21st, i recieved and email stating that the iphone 4 had been shipped and would be at my house on the 24th by 1030... fed ex site comfirmed.
  • RE: Check your iPhone 4 in-store pickup email, there may be 3 lines next week

    I received the same text also on my email. I was able to reserve mine using the Apple Store app early in the morning after hours of failed attempts on the web.
  • RE: Check your iPhone 4 in-store pickup email, there may be 3 lines next week

    The way I see it, there are three ways to get the phone through Apple:

    1) Pre-Order: Those who went through the entire purchasing process online and had the phone shipped to their home/business address. (There are no in-store pickup "pre-orders".)

    2) Reservation: Those who, in lieu of pre-ordering, chose to reserve a unit for pickup at an Apple retail store. They entered their ATT information and logged into their Apple ID account to reserve, but did not complete the purchasing process. Those who successfully completed a valid reservation received a confirmation e-mail. To confirm a reservation you can check the iPhone "Apple Store" App or call the retail store (there have been reports of some users not receiving confirmation e-mails or not appearing in Apple's system, I'd recommend double checking). Those with valid reservations SHOULD be fine to receive a phone on launch day as Apple stores will set aside their stock into a pile of "reserved" phones. The disclaimer about pre-authorization might be a holdover from the 3G/3GS launch, where Apple offered customers the opportunity to check their upgrade eligibility without reserving a unit for themselves. Technically, it still is first come first served as to the reservations. Apple likely includes this qualifier to cover themselves in the event that they receive less iPhones than valid reservations made. If their is sufficient stock to cover the reservations, the store should not sell your reserved unit before the close of business on the 24th, as the e-mail states.

    3) Walk-ins: These of course are the people who were unable to pre-order and ship the phone or complete a valid reservation.

    So at the retail stores there are no "pre-orders" or "pre-authorizations". Just reservations and everyone else (walk-ins).
    • TWO lines


      Thank you for clarifying what all of these people **should** have already known. There were two options. Pre-order = ship to home/business. Reserve = pickup at apple store.

      There should be TWO lines. One for reservations. One for walk ins.

      I'll be in the reservations line, as shown in my confirmation email from Apple. I hope they don't drop the ball!!
  • No Email Yet, But Was Told We're Getting One

    I have not gotten my email yet, but I pre-ordered (paid for) mine and my wife's iPhones at our local AT&T store since our nearest Apple Store is 50 miles away. I called the sales person today and asked her about all the delays and she said as long as we pre-ordered before 1pm (Pacific Daylight Time) on Tuesday, June 15th, we were sure to have our phones on the 24th. We did our order at 10:30 that morning. Hope their right!
  • RE: Email message

    My email says "Thanks for reserving your iPhone. It will be here June 24th.
  • Heres what Mine says

    "Thank you for ordering iPhone 4 from AT&T. Your device has been reserved. Today was the busiest sales day in our history. Because of the incredible volume of orders we received, there is a slight chance that some customers may receive their devices between June 25 and June 28. Rest assured, we are doing all we can to ship devices to customers for delivery on the 24th. You do not need to take any action at this point."

    I was at the store at 9 and the phone actually went through at 12 AM. Apparently they stayed there till 3AM trying to make the orders work
  • RE: Check your iPhone 4 in-store pickup email, there may be 3 lines next week

    I never could get my order to go through on Apple or AT&T's website. I might have to resort to Walmart. That's weird thinking of getting my iPhone at Walmart. Unfortunately, it's only at 1500 locations, and no one knows which 1500.
  • RE: Check your iPhone 4 in-store pickup email, there may be 3 lines next we

    Thank you for your order. Your iPhone4 pre-order has been received and is being processed in the order it was received. You do not need to take any action. You will receive an email from us if we need any additional information.

    -My placed the order for me online @ 2am Hawaii time (the second it was available for ordering). Let's see when I actually get it ;)
  • Re: Check Your iPhone 4

    I was the first person in line to pre-order my iPhone 4 from the local AT&T store. The store opened at 10AM EST here in NY and by 10:30AM, I was receiving my receipts with confirmation that my order had gone through. A few hours later, I received an email with the tracking number to my iPhone 4 confirming that the order did go through, however, the email says that the iPhone will ship on June 24th, not be there on the 24th. When I called the AT&T store I went to, they said that they can't guarantee it will be there on the 24th, but that it will be there sometime between the 24th and July 2nd. Did anyone else get the same email saying it will ship on or after the 24th? Whats the point of pre-ordering then?!
  • Called local Apple store

    I just got off the phone with an Apple employee. I asked her specifically "if I come to the store at 8:00 P.M. would I still get my pre-ordered Iphone" She assured me that I would get my phone as long as I was there by close of business. I have the same email from Apple as the author of this blog. I explained to here that my email states "1st come 1st serve". She said it is just there in case of shipping problems. I will not be waiting in line for this is why I pre-ordered. I figure I would go around lunch, and raise HELL if my phone is not there. I would hate to go to jail over a phone lol. Hope this helps anyone reading this.