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

Posted:
in iPhone edited January 2014
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.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 49
    charlitunacharlituna Posts: 7,217member
    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.
  • Reply 2 of 49
    cameronjcameronj Posts: 2,357member
    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?
  • Reply 3 of 49
    mark2005mark2005 Posts: 1,158member
    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.
  • Reply 4 of 49
    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.
  • Reply 5 of 49
    bryandbryand Posts: 78member
    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.
  • Reply 6 of 49
    cameronjcameronj Posts: 2,357member
    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.
  • Reply 7 of 49
    clrcutclrcut Posts: 1member
    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.
  • Reply 8 of 49
    cameronjcameronj Posts: 2,357member
    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.
  • Reply 9 of 49
    nagrommenagromme Posts: 2,834member
    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.
  • Reply 10 of 49
    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?"
  • Reply 11 of 49
    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
  • Reply 12 of 49
    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
  • Reply 13 of 49
    hosshoss Posts: 69member
    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!
  • Reply 14 of 49
    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
  • Reply 15 of 49
    iphone91iphone91 Posts: 98member
    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
  • Reply 16 of 49
    tbdtbd Posts: 1member
    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.
  • Reply 17 of 49
    radster360radster360 Posts: 544member
    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.
  • Reply 18 of 49
    iphone91iphone91 Posts: 98member
    Your waiting will be well rewarded.



    Steve
  • Reply 19 of 49
    timontimon Posts: 152member
    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.
  • Reply 20 of 49
    aaarrrggghaaarrrgggh Posts: 1,608member
    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.
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