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Apple stores now open at 8 A.M. to handle iPhone 3G demand

post #1 of 50
Thread Starter 
All of Apple's US retail outlets are now in a permanent launch mode and will open as much as two hours earlier each day to accommodate the unprecedented demand for the new iPhone. Also, at least some locations are now giving customers rainchecks for the day's iPhone 3G stock.

The company's availability page now tells customers that stores that normally open at 10 A.M. will now open at the new time and are adding new employees to their ranks to process customers at a faster rate.

"To accommodate demand for iPhone 3G, all Apple Retail Stores will now open at 8:00 a.m. every day but Sunday," Apple says. "We're also adding staff to help you get up and running as quickly as possible."

While the change will do little to alleviate queues at the company's flagship stores -- many of which already open earlier -- the move gives Apple more time to clear queues for iPhone 3G at its locations that often continue to last for hours even two weeks after the official launch.

Additionally, AppleInsider has confirmed first-hand that at least some stores are changing their approach to selling iPhone 3G.

While Apple until now has only promised iPhones to customers as long as they stay in queue at the store, the company is now pre-qualifying customers who line up at the store and will set aside an iPhone 3G to be picked up later, when it's more convenient for them to do so. In many cases these buyers have until 6 P.M. to collect their purchases.

The method should stagger the appearance of iPhone customers throughout the day and head off potential disappointment from customers who may have to quit the line early due to other commitments.
post #2 of 50
from what the guys at my local store told me the claim check is ALL stores.

basically at the start of the day, they will pre qual everyone to eliminate issues once the process starts. to avoid wasting customer's time and the staff's time with surprise calls to ATT or calls home because you forgot your account number etc. if you pass that step you get a ticket good until 6pm that day. you can stay or go. but you must be back and have presented your ticket by 6pm. if there's a bunch of folks at any time, there will be a line of ticket holders. no one will be in line without a ticket because exactly the number of phones will be accounted for. so no more waiting without knowing you can get a phone.

it's not quite a waitlist or pre-order but I for one like the idea that I can go and pass the first test before my shift and then come back during my lunch hour to pay up.

A non tech's thoughts on Apple stuff 

(She's family so I'm a little biased)

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A non tech's thoughts on Apple stuff 

(She's family so I'm a little biased)

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post #3 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

The method should stagger the appearance of iPhone customers throughout the day and head off potential disappointment from customers who may have to quit the line early due to other commitments.

Thank god. I don't know why no one ever considered the idea of taking a number or keeping a list, but eventually, the glory of waiting in line for 4 hours wears off. Why not let people take a number and then come back at an estimated time, so they don't have to sit and do nothing for 4 hours?
post #4 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by cameronj View Post

Thank god. I don't know why no one ever considered the idea of taking a number or keeping a list, but eventually, the glory of waiting in line for 4 hours wears off. Why not let people take a number and then come back at an estimated time, so they don't have to sit and do nothing for 4 hours?

I think Apple really thought the demand would not persist so strongly beyond the first weekend, even factoring in the extended purchasing process time. This poor forecast would also explain the severe stock-out last Sat and Sun, in that the ramp was totally insufficient. Though it finally looks great (over 90% of stores have at least 2 of the 3 models).

But I am glad that they're changing the process. Now it's almost like Fastpass at Disney World.
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post #5 of 50
The other nice thing when I (finally) got my phone this morning - they are going to start doing only one shipment a day, and once they have sold out, that is it.

This at least means that they will have some phones at each store every day, and you don't have to keep calling back during the day to see if they will get more.
post #6 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by mark2005 View Post

I think Apple really thought the demand would not persist so strongly beyond the first weekend, even factoring in the extended purchasing process time. This poor forecast would also explain the severe stock-out last Sat and Sun, in that the ramp was totally insufficient. Though it finally looks great (over 90% of stores have at least 2 of the 3 models).

But I am glad that they're changing the process. Now it's almost like Fastpass at Disney World.

The demand has persisted past the first weekend because they had nowhere near enough phones to satisfy the initial demand. I got up at 5 am on the day of the introduction and lined up outside a Fido store in Toronto. When the doors finally opened at 10:30, the store manager claimed that he had been instructed to sell only to new customers and refused to sell me a phone. As a result, I had to phone in and place an order after all the supplies available that day were sold out.

I'm still waiting for my phone. I called Fido yesterday and they say that they haven't received any more shipments of 16GB iphones since the first day. So after two weeks, no new deliveries and customers like me who tried to get them on the first day are still waiting.

If they haven't even cleared up the first day demand, obviously it will be a long time before they can meet ongoing demand. Its good for Apple that they're selling so many phones, but bad for customers that they underestimated demand so badly.
post #7 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by mark2005 View Post

I think Apple really thought the demand would not persist so strongly beyond the first weekend, even factoring in the extended purchasing process time. This poor forecast would also explain the severe stock-out last Sat and Sun, in that the ramp was totally insufficient. Though it finally looks great (over 90% of stores have at least 2 of the 3 models).

But I am glad that they're changing the process. Now it's almost like Fastpass at Disney World.

Of course the demand caught them by surprise, but every store manager should have had the common sense to look at the line and say gee, is there any way I can make these people happier? Get a deli-style number ticket machine and give people numbers so they can go off and do their business rather than sweat all afternoon.

At some point the cachet of having long lines outside your stores has to turn into shame at not being able to help your customers any faster and putting them through a wasted day IMO.
post #8 of 50
After making three disappointing trips to the Apple Store to find out that either their web site availability was wrong, they sold out before I could get down to the store, or the line was 3 hours long to purchase and activate the iphone, I've come to my senses and decided to wait indefinitely. There are just too many people competing with each other to get these things, and the ability to supply them is constrained.

There are two bottlenecks that people have to consider: iPhone availability for the model you actually want, and the activation process itself which allows for about 20-25 activations per hour. The current system has been designed to constrain the purchasing process, which only hypes the purchasing experience (good or bad).

As a proponent of Apple products, I'm very happy for Apple and the faithful customers that are willing to wait.
post #9 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by Clrcut View Post

After making three disappointing trips to the Apple Store to find out that either their web site availability was wrong, they sold out before I could get down to the store, or the line was 3 hours long to purchase and activate the iphone, I've come to my senses and decided to wait indefinitely. There are just too many people competing with each other to get these things, and the ability to supply them is constrained.

There are two bottlenecks that people have to consider: iPhone availability for the model you actually want, and the activation process itself which allows for about 20-25 activations per hour. The current system has been designed to constrain the purchasing process, which only hypes the purchasing experience (good or bad).

As a proponent of Apple products, I'm very happy for Apple and the faithful customers that are willing to wait.

Go to the ATT store and put in an order. No waiting. They take your credit card but they don't charge it until the phone ships.
post #10 of 50
I'm glad a new system has come up--and I can see why it was done from the top rather than having each manager invent his own procedure.

But nobody is MAKING these people wait in line. I want an iPhone too. Maybe I'll get it next week. Maybe another month. I won't perish either way, and I won't wait in lines. Apple's availability tracker is all I need to judge when the rush is ending.

There's nothing wrong if you DO have the time and desire to put towards getting one sooner... but you don't HAVE to.
post #11 of 50
A: "We've run out of iPhones."

B: "I've got the solution..."

A: "Produce more phones, and get them in the stores?"

B: "No. How about we open an hour earlier?"

A: "What good will THAT do?"

B: "You're right. How about two hours earlier?"
post #12 of 50
Before the launch, there was a lot of speculation about limits on the number of phones a person could purchase. How did that turn out? Someone I know who waited in line to get a phone a week after the launch said that she saw several people buying several phones at the Apple Store (some buying four or five).

I ordered mine via AT&T's direct fulfillment program on the 18th; no choice for business customers. I probably won't have a phone for quite a while.

If there are a significant number of people walking out of the store with 3-5 phones, does it make sense to limit purchase to two during this period of scarcity?

gc
post #13 of 50
I feel a bit bad i had my 3g iphone on day one and did not have to wait in line its was sent via dhl to my home I have even found a way to get my 1gen to work with another sim without unlocking simply installing a activated sim(not the one which came with the iphone) in to the phone holding down the power button and the home key at the same time itunes reports the phone is in restore mode click restore and bingo 5 mins later its up n running so i have two sorry guys but its worth the wait
post #14 of 50
I don't mean to overthink this thing, but Gene Munster's 10 million unit annual sales estimate is a miss. Big time!!!!!! They'll sell 10 million in Oklahoma. Go Steve, Go!!!!

Still waitin' on mine from AT&T since the 19th!
post #15 of 50
At the San Tan Apple Store in Gilbert, AZ they seem to always have iPhone in stock. I got mine and my wife's on iDay at 5:30 p.m.(2 White 16gb). I have since been to that store about 6 times since ( at different times) and they have always had them. We went to see Batman last night and in a full theater there were at lest 20 iPhone going... They are very popular, but it seems like you just have to be in the right place at the right time.

Jeff
post #16 of 50
I think the idea is that they have more time to sell iPhones during the day, so then more people can be helped. If people want to buy one after work, then there will be less people in line at 5 PM, because they got started earlier in the day. I just staggers the flow of people out over more of the day. Less waiting and less frustrating. A good business plan.

Steve
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post #17 of 50
I ordered a black 16 gig from AT&T's direct fulfillment program on Tuesday the 22nd. On Friday the 25th, I went into the store and found out they had the 16 gig white model in stock--only two units, but since my black one hadn't shipped, I went ahead and asked them to cancel it and was able to buy the white one. They also had two 8 gig black models and would only sell one to each customer. Only two of us came in when they opened, but the clerk still made the woman ahead of me wait until her phone was activated and walk outside then walk back in before she'd let her buy another (of course they were gone in the fifteen minutes it took to activate the first one).

The clerk selling me my iphone said the white ones are coming into AT&T much quicker and in most cases if you order direct fulfillment for the white model, it comes the next day. The average wait for black 16 gig is still 10-20 days, though.
post #18 of 50
The new hour change is good, but not good enough. Why don't they just take order after doing approval checks, etc. at store (if they don't want it available online.) I order mine at AT&T and will just wait until they arrive. Yes, it would be nice to have it now, but if I can wait through 1G for 3G, I guess I can wait for few more days/weeks.

This lack of supply could backfire for Apple. For a moment, I was even considering getting me Instinct or Blackberry, but decided to wait it out.
post #19 of 50
Your waiting will be well rewarded.

Steve
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post #20 of 50
I've got a better idea. Giving out the tickets is fine but how about letting them SMS you when they get close to your number. At that point as soon as you get there you go straight to the front of the line.

OR

Use similar process that Disney uses in their "FastPass" system. You get a pass which specifies the phone your getting and a one hour window, you can ask for a given window if it's open, to show up.

When you arrive you get in the "FastPass" line. If there is no one "FastPass" then someone in the main line can go in. If you get there late you loose your place in line, after all you had an hour.

So no one can complain about incorrect time cell phone time should be use since it tied to the atomic clocks.
post #21 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by purpleshorts View Post

A: "We've run out of iPhones."

B: "I've got the solution..."

A: "Produce more phones, and get them in the stores?"

B: "No. How about we open an hour earlier?"

A: "What good will THAT do?"

B: "You're right. How about two hours earlier?"

For people working, it can make a huge difference. I was out of my office from 9:30am until 2pm on Thursday. Had they opened at 8, I could have gotten in line at 7:30, received my ticket, and would have had three viable time slots to complete the purchase (stay, lunch, or around 5), which would have had less impact on my day. It would have also split the morning queue up pretty well, at least for those who live or work relatively close to the store. (Or, hit Starbucks and work from there for a couple hours before joining the line. Do a conference call from your car...)

Since they have such a lousy activation and purchase system now, they either need to improve the system or do things to better distribute the line over the course of the day.

The tickets did at least do a good job of letting people quickly know if they would be able to get a phone that day.
post #22 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by nagromme View Post

But nobody is MAKING these people wait in line. I want an iPhone too. Maybe I'll get it next week. Maybe another month. I won't perish either way, and I won't wait in lines. Apple's availability tracker is all I need to judge when the rush is ending.

Exactly! Who knows, in another few weeks, they may even have figured out some online way to do it..... OK, OK, I guess I am dreaming.....
post #23 of 50
I finally got an Iphone last Friday. When I finally got in the store to sign up I found out there were just two guys handling the phone work. It took at least 15 mins per person and there were about twenty people waiting in line to buy a phone. No wonder it takes so long.
post #24 of 50
A pre-qualified process should be done on line, including selecting a store to buy the phone at. When a phone is available for you an email telling you to come in to pick it up is sent.

I'll wait until I can walk in and out in 15 minutes or less.
post #25 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by Timon View Post

I've got a better idea. Giving out the tickets is fine but how about letting them SMS you when they get close to your number. At that point as soon as you get there you go straight to the front of the line.

OR

Use similar process that Disney uses in their "FastPass" system. You get a pass which specifies the phone your getting and a one hour window, you can ask for a given window if it's open, to show up.

When you arrive you get in the "FastPass" line. If there is no one "FastPass" then someone in the main line can go in. If you get there late you loose your place in line, after all you had an hour.

So no one can complain about incorrect time cell phone time should be use since it tied to the atomic clocks.

So far, that is the best idea yet. They could use a sign up process like when you make a Genius Bar Appointment. That would be easy, fast and so much simpler than the other ways. It would cut back on waiting and would alleviate the stress on the Apple Employees to rush through customers so that the line would move faster. I think it would improve the experience dramatically.

Steve
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post #26 of 50
or they could just take orders online, and qualify everyone online, the way AT&T does with other phones. what a brilliant f***ing idea that would be.
post #27 of 50
The queue at the Regents Street (flagship) store in London was shorter today than it has been the other times I've been in - down to 8 or so people from the 24-40 it was a week ago... Maybe that was just chance - I've got better things to do than sit and watch the iPhone queue all day

Anyway, I'm waiting till I don't have to queue, though I'm tempted to go to an O2 store as they all seem to have them in stock.
post #28 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by cameronj View Post

Thank god. I don't know why no one ever considered the idea of taking a number or keeping a list, but eventually, the glory of waiting in line for 4 hours wears off. Why not let people take a number and then come back at an estimated time, so they don't have to sit and do nothing for 4 hours?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Timon View Post

I've got a better idea. Giving out the tickets is fine but how about letting them SMS you when they get close to your number. At that point as soon as you get there you go straight to the front of the line.
OR Use similar process that Disney uses in their "FastPass" system...


I agree, this is absolutely ridiculous! The whole line thing may be good for launch day marketing, but after that it is just stupid. For god sakes, we are talking about one of the world's foremost software companies, and they don't offer a simple pre-order or reservation system???? I can't even believe it.

Why not just do the sales process over the internet? Fill out an online order form depending on your current AT&T status, input your credit card data (which is the only way to pay anyways) and you're done! Apple corporate would then assign your order to your chosen/local Apple retail store. When they receive new inventory, the system would email you a confirmation number and tell you it's ready to pick up! At the Apple store, they confirm the order (which charges your card), activate the iPhone, and off you go!


Can anyone come up with a single reason why that idea wouldn't work?
post #29 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by winterspan View Post

I agree, this is absolutely ridiculous! The whole line thing may be good for launch day marketing, but after that it is just stupid. For god sakes, we are talking about one of the world's foremost software companies, and they don't offer a simple pre-order or reservation system???? I can't even believe it.

Why not just do the sales process over the internet? Fill out an online order form depending on your current AT&T status, input your credit card data (which is the only way to pay anyways) and you're done! Apple corporate would then assign your order to your chosen/local Apple retail store. When they receive new inventory, the system would email you a confirmation number and tell you it's ready to pick up! At the Apple store, they confirm the order (which charges your card), activate the iPhone, and off you go!


Can anyone come up with a single reason why that idea wouldn't work?

because Apple doesn't have enough engineers to get their current systems working correctly (app store, MobileMe, iPhone 2.0 software).

However, I do love that idea.
post #30 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by purpleshorts View Post

A: "We've run out of iPhones."
B: "I've got the solution..."
A: "Produce more phones, and get them in the stores?"
B: "No. How about we open an hour earlier?"
A: "What good will THAT do?"
B: "You're right. How about two hours earlier?"

Have you ever been to any of the Apple Stores? The one in Stonestown (SF) is always crowded, even during the pre-launch days when Apple had no iPhones to sell.

A store, with X sqft area, with Y employees, can handle only Z customers per day. With the iPhone launch, it is quite possible the traffic through Apple Store is over the capacity. That means the staff has to either cut the service and rush the customers, or customers (whether buying an iPhone or a 30" cinema display) will be turned away.

Having the store open for 15% longer hours is a quick way to increase the capacity instantly, without opening 15% more Apple Stores overnight.
post #31 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by Timon View Post

I've got a better idea. Giving out the tickets is fine but how about letting them SMS you when they get close to your number. At that point as soon as you get there you go straight to the front of the line.

OR

Use similar process that Disney uses in their "FastPass" system. You get a pass which specifies the phone your getting and a one hour window, you can ask for a given window if it's open, to show up.

When you arrive you get in the "FastPass" line. If there is no one "FastPass" then someone in the main line can go in. If you get there late you loose your place in line, after all you had an hour.

So no one can complain about incorrect time cell phone time should be use since it tied to the atomic clocks.

SMS is not exactly reliable. Sometimes it arrives instantly. Sometimes it arrives X hours later.
post #32 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by Timon View Post

I've got a better idea. Giving out the tickets is fine but how about letting them SMS you when they get close to your number. At that point as soon as you get there you go straight to the front of the line.

OR

Use similar process that Disney uses in their "FastPass" system. You get a pass which specifies the phone your getting and a one hour window, you can ask for a given window if it's open, to show up.

When you arrive you get in the "FastPass" line. If there is no one "FastPass" then someone in the main line can go in. If you get there late you loose your place in line, after all you had an hour.

So no one can complain about incorrect time cell phone time should be use since it tied to the atomic clocks.

Yup - reminded me a little of Godin's ideas on the subject:

http://sethgodin.typepad.com/seths_b.../scarcity.html
post #33 of 50
I arrived at 7:30am to get in line at the Apple Store after apple.com told me the night before that they would have stock of the new iPhone 3g. There were about 50 people in line when I got there. At 8am, apple store employee came out and informed us of the new voucher system and he said he had enough for everyone in line. So, FINALLY I was "assured" of getting my new iPhone. Another 20 minutes or so and I had voucher in hand! I left because he said all I needed to do then was come back to the store before 6pm to redeem it for my new phone. I had some things to do that morning because I was going out of town that day. Arrived back at around 11:30 only to find the line just as long. People that had been in line with me were still in line (even after getting vouchers) to get into the store and actually "redeem" them. I was told that I would have to wait at the back of the line to get in the store to redeem my "voucher". Unfortunately I had to leave town in about an hour so basically had no choice but to turn in my voucher so hopefully someone else could use it! Ridiculous!

The voucher system sounds like a great idea (I thought so too when it was first explained that morning), but unfortunately it doesn't help with the whole "activation-in-store" process. This is the real problem.

Apple needs to fix this. they have totally botched this whole rollout. How much more successful could it have been if only they had thought it through? I own(ed) an iPhone 2g (sold it this past week to pay for the new one). A faithful customer (fanboy :-) ) and this is how we are treated??? Come on Apple!!!

Anyway, long story short (too late, I know), I drove over to the AT&T store and placed an order there. It might take 10-21 days but at least I won't have to put up the waiting in line only to be disappointed. Now, I'm off to unlock an old Razr I had lying around so I have a cell phone over the next couple weeks! ;-)
post #34 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by MacChad View Post

I arrived at 7:30am to get in line at my apple.com told me the night before that they would have stock of the new iPhone 3g.

Well, there's your problem... you waited in line for the web site! Problem solved! Next customer!

Proud AAPL stock owner.

 

GOA

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Proud AAPL stock owner.

 

GOA

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post #35 of 50
I don't mind the speculative chatter about what could/should have done to handle the 3G surge better, but when it comes to actually buying a phone I'm surprised by how many people on these forums are waiting for hours in line so long after the launch when they could have pre-paid at an AT&T store. The percentage of people that are closer to an Apple Store than an AT&T store has got to be fairly minute, so are there other reasons that I'm missing as to why people in the know are waiting for hours at an Apple Store to get an iPhone?
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post #36 of 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by SpamSandwich View Post

Well, there's your problem... you waited in line for the web site! Problem solved! Next customer!

Waited in line at the Apple STORE after apple.com...blahblahblah... ;-)
post #37 of 50
i went to buy iPhone in Portland, apple store at pioneer place about almost 30 in line waiting, then skipped that plan (figured out it will take more than an hour), went to AT&T near pioneer place, system not working so can not pre-order iPhone, returned empty handed ... sigh ...

bring back the old system of activating at home or hurry up and do SOMETHING about this unnecessary mess...

sorry to say this this is tooooooo much hassle for a phone, will wait until when there is no quere

and one more thing, this is very UNAPPLE way of doing things....

Regards,
long time apple fanboy

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Nov '09 | iMac 21.5" C2D 3.06 Ghz | Intel 330 240GB SSD | ATI

Sep '12| Toshiba 14" 1366 x 768! | i5 3rd Gen 6GB| Intel x25-m 120GB SSD | Win 7|  Viewsonic VX2255wmb 22" LCD
iPhone 4S| iPad 2 wifi

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post #38 of 50
Many friends of mine tried getting iPhones the first few days and just about everyone struck out because lines were too long or the stores ran out

I have an original iPhone that I am completely happy with but I do want to upgrade

I called every AT&T store within 20-25 miles for my house (like 20 stores) the other day thinking that I had waited long enough for some new stock shipments to be in and not one single store had any iPhones. WOW

The only Apple Store near me is an hour and a half away and they have sold out every morning within an hour so not a chance in hell I make that drive

I don't feel like doing direct fulfillment so I figure I will happily wait until AT&T stores start getting them in stock
post #39 of 50
Well done! Thank you for your suggestion. The same Apple iPhones are popular here.


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post #40 of 50
Since Apple is so concerned about people pilfering their phones without activating them, why not sell them for $600, and then have people activate them at home through iTunes just like the first one. Upon a succesful activation of your at&t account, $400 will be restored to your credit account.
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