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EasyPay to ease iPhone 3G transactions at Apple retail stores

post #1 of 47
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Apple plans to rely heavily on its portable checkout devices to speed up the iPhone 3G checkout and activation process at its retail stores beginning this Friday, according to information coming out of the company's retail meetings. Other notes from the internal gatherings follow.

People familiar with this week's disclosures between Apple and its retail employees say the electronics maker has designed its in-store iPhone 3G checkout process so that only handheld EasyPay systems (pictured below) carried by staffers can process orders for the new phone.

As such, the only forms of accepted payment for an iPhone 3G will be credit cards, debit cards, or Apple gift cards. However, gift cards can still be purchased with cash or a check at the stores' front POS (iMac) systems.

The EasyPay handhelds will also process every part of the iPhone 3G transaction ahead of activation, those same people say. This will include everything from a credit check (where applicable, see below), the customer's selection of a calling plan, plan add-ons, number porting, and the actual purchase.



Some other notes from Apple's ongoing retail meetings:
Apple retail stores will not be able to help business customers who wish to move to iPhone 3G. Business customers are categorized as anyone who has a portion (or all of) their wireless bill paid for by their employer, or receives discounts on their mobile phone by working for their employer.
If you're not an existing AT&T customer, you'll be required to provide an Apple sales representative with your social security number so that they can perform a quick credit check.
All iPhone 3G shoppers will need to present a valid government issued United States ID (such as a drivers license) at the time of purchase.
Customers subscribing to a new AT&T FamilyTalk plan will need to purchase at least two iPhone 3Gs with the plan, unless a first-generation iPhone is already owned by one of the family members that will be using the plan. In that case, the new phone is sold and activated and the old iPhone is ported over to the new plan.
Some retail store employees say staffers may also "personalize" iPhone 3Gs by setting up an email account for customers at the point of sale.
Apple retail employees may not be able to determine whether existing non-iPhone AT&T customers are eligible for upgrade pricing. As such, it's unclear how iPhone 3G sales to non-iPhone AT&T customers will be possible at Apple retail stores. Additional information will be published when it becomes available.
Porting non-AT&T mobile numbers over to iPhone 3G on new AT&T accounts may take as long as 4 to 6 hours to complete. During this time, outgoing calls can still be made.
Apple retail employees will receive additional training on July 9th and 10th.
Apple retail managers were expected to receive more details regarding launch day procedures during a conference call sometime Monday (today).
The slogan appears to be "GET READY, GET SET, GO..."
Apple is expected to issue a press release with additional details as early as Tuesday.
In the meantime, Apple has provided customers with a support document which describes how to replace an original iPhone with an iPhone 3G.
Once payment for an iPhone 3G has been processed, Apple staffers will activate (unbrick) the phone by tethering it to a modified iTunes application. The activation process on the modified iTunes app will mirror the first few steps of the original iPhone home activation process, and employees (at least at AT&T) are being told not to progress beyond the "Set Up Your iPhone" screen, as can be seen in the below AT&T training screenshot.
post #2 of 47
I feel quite unsafe providing Apple my SSN and my driver's license. The former makes sense for a credit check, but what does the latter have to do with an iPhone purchase anyways? Are they storing any of this personal information anywhere?

This is quite an interesting read... and somewhat disconcerting: [linky]
post #3 of 47
Shouldn't Apple be a little embarrassed using handheld POS devices labelled 'PocketPC'?

Surely they could have developed an iPhone app for that?!
post #4 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by jasonfj View Post

Shouldn't Apple be a little embarrassed using handheld POS devices labelled 'PocketPC'? Surely they could have developed an iPhone app for that?!

...And built custom iPhones that provide for the scanning of credit card magnetic strips? Actually they could have built some kind of add-on that snapped over the bottom of the iPhone to read the magnetic strip (and had its own on board battery so not to drain the iPhone) but to what end... Are the costs to design such a thing really worth the time/trouble/engineering man-hours/fcc-approval-issues/etc? When they could buy them off the shelf for a few hundred bucks each and already have the software written and working well?

Dave
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post #5 of 47
Unless that image isn't real, I wonder why they didn't give AT&T employees a more simple portal for authorizing iPhones.

Here is something ironic, I may move out of my Family Plan to save money. The Family Plan for the 3G iPhone offers only 2 options for SMS: 20¢ per text or $30 unlimited. If I move to two seperate plans, I pay $10 more a month over the Family Plan but then can add 200 SMS per phone for $5 each. A savings of $10 per month.


Quote:
Originally Posted by axc51 View Post

I feel quite unsafe providing Apple my SSN and my driver's license. The former makes sense for a credit check, but what does the latter have to do with an iPhone purchase anyways? Are they storing any of this personal information anywhere?

They are storing it, it's going to tie you to that iPhone IEMI and to your AT&T account. If you don't want that, then wait until you can buy it unsubsidized and pay the full retail price. No credit check then.


Quote:
Originally Posted by jasonfj View Post

Shouldn't Apple be a little embarrassed using handheld POS devices labelled 'PocketPC'?
Surely they could have developed an iPhone app for that?!

I would have thought they would be using an iPod Touch now, too. They would have to develop HW that can swipe your CC and send the info to an iPod 30-pin connecter. Perhaps Jobs is still want to be using a Pocket PC running Windows CE until someone else comes out with a CC reader for the iPhone/iPod Touch.
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post #6 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by axc51 View Post

I feel quite unsafe providing Apple my SSN and my driver's license. The former makes sense for a credit check, but what does the latter have to do with an iPhone purchase anyways? Are they storing any of this personal information anywhere?

Would you rather give your SSN to an AT&T employee?
A credit check is SOP for setting up mobile phone service.
(And I'd rather it was transferred verbally, or entered electronically, than stored on paper).

The drivers license is probably to track either total purchases made (perhaps to limit resale possibilities) or for somewhat reasonable assurance that it will be used in the United States.
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post #7 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by jasonfj View Post

Shouldn't Apple be a little embarrassed using handheld POS devices labelled 'PocketPC'?

Don't worry, Apple has it covered... literally!

post #8 of 47
No one will be allowed to make a credit card reader for the iPhone or Touch at the current stage as they haven't allowed people to access the dock connector for 3rd party apps yet.

But they could allow it in the future i guess :P
post #9 of 47
This would be really suck for Apple cannot handle people with existing AT&T customer that isn't using an iphone. I have $350 worth of apple gift card saved up that I was going to use on the iphone. I don't think AT&T store will allow me to use that.
post #10 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by axc51 View Post

I feel quite unsafe providing Apple my SSN and my driver's license. The former makes sense for a credit check, but what does the latter have to do with an iPhone purchase anyways?

It allows them to verify that you're the person you claim to be. A driver's license has a picture on it; a Social Security card doesn't.
post #11 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by DaveGee View Post

...And built custom iPhones that provide for the scanning of credit card magnetic strips? Actually they could have built some kind of add-on that snapped over the bottom of the iPhone to read the magnetic strip (and had its own on board battery so not to drain the iPhone) but to what end... Are the costs to design such a thing really worth the time/trouble/engineering man-hours/fcc-approval-issues/etc? When they could buy them off the shelf for a few hundred bucks each and already have the software written and working well?

I think that makes sense. The typical customer probably wouldn't know the difference, it looks like a standard retail scanner and not a PDA. When I saw them, it seemed like the employees were pretty careful to not let customers see the screen up close. They are purpose-built devices that probably can't be beat by docking hardware to an Apple device.
post #12 of 47
More news to come 9th and 10th - stay tuned.

Quote:
Originally Posted by PG4G View Post

No one will be allowed to make a credit card reader for the iPhone or Touch at the current stage as they haven't allowed people to access the dock connector for 3rd party apps yet.

But they could allow it in the future i guess :P
post #13 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by JeffDM View Post

I think that makes sense. The typical customer probably wouldn't know the difference, it looks like a standard retail scanner and not a PDA. When I saw them, it seemed like the employees were pretty careful to not let customers see the screen up close. They are purpose-built devices that probably can't be beat by docking hardware to an Apple device.

You would think they could install a custom UI skin to make it look more Apple
post #14 of 47
I would love to purchase 2 iPhones as I am moving 2 phones from T-mobile to AT&T. However, I also heard that you can only buy 1 phone per person in line. So what is right? That's confusing.
post #15 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by firemox View Post

I have $350 worth of apple gift card saved up that I was going to use on the iphone. I don't think AT&T store will allow me to use that.

There have been reports that Apple won't let you use multiple gift cards for the iPhone purchase. If that is the case, a possible way around it is to buy other items at once with the gift cards, then return the items which will get you a single store credit gift card for the amount of the purchase.
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post #16 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by marmotton View Post

I would love to purchase 2 iPhones as I am moving 2 phones from T-mobile to AT&T. However, I also heard that you can only buy 1 phone per person in line. So what is right? That's confusing.

The first report from AT&T stated 3 iPhones per customer, the next said only one, now they are saying you have to buy more than one to get on the family plan.

I'd wager that it's still only one per customer right away, which would be an individual plan. But when you buy a 2nd one you can upgrade that individual plan to a Family Plan. With so many yo-yo comments from AT&T, if we are confused the CSRs surely will be.
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post #17 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by cameronj View Post

You would think they could install a custom UI skin to make it look more Apple

and at least order them without the PocketPC logo printed on top.
post #18 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by axc51 View Post

I feel quite unsafe providing Apple my SSN and my driver's license. The former makes sense for a credit check, but what does the latter have to do with an iPhone purchase anyways? Are they storing any of this personal information anywhere?

This is quite an interesting read... and somewhat disconcerting: [linky]

As far as I can remember, they needed that info to start my T-mo account also.

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post #19 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by SpamSandwich View Post

As far as I can remember, they needed that info to start my T-mo account also.

Pretty much everything in the US where you are being sold an item for less than the full retail price requires a SSN for a credit check.
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post #20 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by lonestar1 View Post

It allows them to verify that you're the person you claim to be. A driver's license has a picture on it; a Social Security card doesn't.

And that proves what???

My 80 year old father whose drivers license expired but still had a photo that looked like him and we could provide supporting documentation showing the same current address in order to proceed with a transaction, however, the bank was adamant about a valid photo ID.

So I had to take him to the DMV and provide their requirements such as his honorable discharge papers from the military and his last years State taxes that met with their approval to proceed and provide him with a state photo ID.

Those documents had no photo ID on them and they were not good enough for the bank but they were good enough for the DMV to give him a valid state photo ID, that when the bank, which was adamant about him having, saw it, they were more than helpful! Go Figure?!

Feel any safer now?

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post #21 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rot'nApple View Post

And that proves what???

It proves that the state has verified to the best of their abilities that he is who he is. Even though faking an ID isn't difficult, by having a government issued ID it shifts the blame away from the company and the employee. People try to scam banks everyday, if the teller allowed someone to use an expired ID and the person was not who they said they were they would lose their job. The bank has rules set up for a reason. I'm not certain, but I reckon part of the requirements for being FDIC insured financial institution is to follow certain guidelines. Not to mention that DMV employees are experienced in looking at birth certificates and such as a form of ID and bank tellers are not.
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post #22 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rot'nApple View Post

And that proves what???

My 80 year old father whose drivers license expired but still had a photo that looked like him and we could provide supporting documentation showing the same current address in order to proceed with a transaction, however, the bank was adamant about a valid photo ID.

So I had to take him to the DMV and provide their requirements such as his honorable discharge papers from the military and his last years State taxes that met with their approval to proceed and provide him with a state photo ID.

Those documents had no photo ID on them and they were not good enough for the bank but they were good enough for the DMV to give him a valid state photo ID, that when the bank, which was adamant about him having, saw it, they were more than helpful! Go Figure?!

Feel any safer now?

Given that there was an expired driver's license, the state would have records and history of that ID, the bank wouldn't.
post #23 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by PG4G View Post

No one will be allowed to make a credit card reader for the iPhone or Touch at the current stage as they haven't allowed people to access the dock connector for 3rd party apps yet.

But they could allow it in the future i guess :P

That's hardly a problem, I'm sure Apple could make a special partnership with Symbol or some other company to do that. Just because it's not available in the public beta SDK doesn't mean there's no way to do it. There are still practicality issues though, I think Apple would only need a few thousand at most, that might not be enough.
post #24 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post


Here is something ironic, I may move out of my Family Plan to save money. The Family Plan for the 3G iPhone offers only 2 options for SMS: 20¢ per text or $30 unlimited. If I move to two seperate plans, I pay $10 more a month over the Family Plan but then can add 200 SMS per phone for $5 each. A savings of $10 per month.

You misinterpreted the family plan text plan. you can add the $5 - 200msg to a individual line on your family plan. The $30 is for all the lines on the family plan, but you can still add text to just one line.
post #25 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rot'nApple View Post

And that proves what???

by your logic we don't need to show ID when using a credit card or when passing through security at the airport, since a state issued ID doesn't prove anything.

yeah i'd feel "real safe" if that were the case...
post #26 of 47
So WHO deboxes the iphone before activation?

They're going be opened beforehand by the boys in the back? Then the store rep in the front has to take it out (and slams it on the counter probably) during activation?
post #27 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by bostocked View Post

So WHO deboxes the iphone before activation?

They're going be opened beforehand by the boys in the back? Then the store rep in the front has to take it out (and slams it on the counter probably) during activation?

Part of the fun of buying apple products is the unboxing - everything perfectly in its place. I agree that having some yahoo fumble around with my new phone (plugging it in to synch with iTunes??!) while trying to crank through as many customers as possible is fraught with peril. Also, speaking your social and DL with 500 of your closest apple buddies around doesn't seem like much fun either.

I really don't understand what problem they are trying to solve by not allowing activation at home via iTunes - that rocked. Allegedly, the phone is to be made available all over the world, so export shouldn't be an issue... Are they really that concerned with jailbroken phones once the app store comes out? I liken that to the whole napster vs. itunes scenario - once one has an easier "legal" way of getting what you want on the phone, where is the incentive? This just smacks of more big telecom AT&T BS.

If AT&T worked this hard on improving network and reducing dropped calls (more bars my buttocks...) they'd have a heckuva lot more happy customers...
post #28 of 47
One of the employees at the NYC 5th Ave Apple store even fessed up to me how ironic it was that his handheld check out device ran on Windows.\
post #29 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by bostocked View Post

So WHO deboxes the iphone before activation?

They're going be opened beforehand by the boys in the back? Then the store rep in the front has to take it out (and slams it on the counter probably) during activation?

Out of 4 posts, three have been about people touching your phone before you buy it.
This is really bugging you, isn't it?

My recommendation: Wait until after the frenzy of the first few days (weeks?) and bring some Purelle hand sanitizer to the store to share with the rep. Surely after things have died down, you will be able to convince them to let you unbox it yourself...

Of course, you know that there are people in the factories in China who are touching every HW item you may purchase before it gets boxed up. I don't know how to help you with that...
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post #30 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bageljoey View Post

Of course, you know that there are people in the factories in China who are touching every HW item you may purchase before it gets boxed up. I don't know how to help you with that...

Unlike in the US, I'll bet they all wear (very clean) gloves.
post #31 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by teckstud View Post

One of the employees at the NYC 5th Ave Apple store even fessed up to me how ironic it was that his handheld check out device ran on Windows.\

Hey, irony in the wild. Someone call Alanis Morisette!
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post #32 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

It proves that the state has verified to the best of their abilities that he is who he is. Even though faking an ID isn't difficult, by having a government issued ID it shifts the blame away from the company and the employee. People try to scam banks everyday, if the teller allowed someone to use an expired ID and the person was not who they said they were they would lose their job. The bank has rules set up for a reason. I'm not certain, but I reckon part of the requirements for being FDIC insured financial institution is to follow certain guidelines. Not to mention that DMV employees are experienced in looking at birth certificates and such as a form of ID and bank tellers are not.

OK but doing business at a bank is one thing. This is buying a freaking phone! \
post #33 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by lonestar1 View Post

It allows them to verify that you're the person you claim to be.


And why is this necessary? What business does Apple or AT&T have to verify my identity? Why can't I buy a cell phone anonymously?
post #34 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by bigmike View Post

OK but doing business at a bank is one thing. This is buying a freaking phone! \

Quote:
Originally Posted by germ View Post

And why is this necessary? What business does Apple or AT&T have to verify my identity? Why can't I buy a cell phone anonymously?

To answer both your staements with the obvious: you're buying it on credit! They are selling you a device for $199 that retails for $599. That is the subsidized price, that means on contract. What aspects of your lives do companies give you something on credit and don't want a way to verify who you are or if you are a good loanee prior to the sale? This is not confusing of difficult to understand. If you getting something prior to actually paying for the whole thing they want assurances that will fulfill your contract.
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post #35 of 47
What happens when my iPhone's account is in my dads name? I am an authorized user of the account. Would my dad have to be present still to upgrade and activate the iPhone? From the article I gather as I am already an AT&T customer I only need my ID to buy and activate the iPhone?
post #36 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by quagmire View Post

What happens when my iPhone's account is in my dads name? I am an authorized user of the account. Would my dad have to be present still to upgrade and activate the iPhone? From the article I gather as I am already an AT&T customer I only need my ID to buy and activate the iPhone?

I'd call AT&T to get a confirmative answer.
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post #37 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by germ View Post

And why is this necessary? What business does Apple or AT&T have to verify my identity? Why can't I buy a cell phone anonymously?

Because they need to know where to send the bill every month. They can't send it to "anonymous."

Or do you expect them to provide you with phone service for free?
post #38 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by axc51 View Post

I feel quite unsafe providing Apple my SSN and my driver's license. The former makes sense for a credit check, but what does the latter have to do with an iPhone purchase anyways? A


it has to do with the fact that you are setting up a cell phone account. which requires a credit check. just like if you got any other cell phone from ATT. and they have to know that they are charging the person they think they are

so if you don't give up the info, you are SOL on getting an iphone. because you have to sign up for service before they will let you walk out the door.
post #39 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by jasonfj View Post

Shouldn't Apple be a little embarrassed using handheld POS devices labelled 'PocketPC'?

Surely they could have developed an iPhone app for that?!

they could have, but where would they get the phones. there aren't exactly dozens of them laying around being wasted at this point.

maybe once they swap demo phones since they aren't likely to be able to use those for anything else.
post #40 of 47
Quote:
Originally Posted by firemox View Post

This would be really suck for Apple cannot handle people with existing AT&T customer that isn't using an iphone. I have $350 worth of apple gift card saved up that I was going to use on the iphone. I don't think AT&T store will allow me to use that.



it is my understanding that the only folks that will not get phones at an apple store are those that fail the credit check and those that have company money issues (employee discount, company pays the bill etc)

otherwise, yes you can certainly get the phone. however you are responsible for verifying whether you are eligible for upgrade or not. the system isn't going to tell Apple to warn you that you will have to pay extra cause your contract is too new. and if you fail to check with ATT, that is on you to deal with. you can't come running to Apple and complaining about the extra cost (cause it is att that is charging you anyway)
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