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After the iPhone 3G S announcement, I knew I was getting one. Actually, I knew that even before the announcement, since for me some of the rumors were so obvious it was clear this was a device worth upgrading to.
I’m a first-generation iPhone owner, so I’m getting a bigger technological leap than iPhone 3G owners. The decision was easy. Fact is, I wanted a faster processor last year, and when there was no 32GB, and it became clear there’d be no turn-by-turn GPS programs anytime soon, I decided to hold off. This year, I get it all and then some.
But how to get my hands on one? The first thing I decided to do was “order” my iPhone via Apple (s aapl). I couldn’t buy one outright and have it delivered (some people can, it has to do with new or existing AT&T (s att) customers, and if the latter, what type of plan you have), so the best I could do was “reserve” it at a nearby Apple Store.
Anyway, the reservation process was a little strange. After confirming I was eligible, and agreeing to the $30 month data plan, I was asked to log into my Apple account and then…nothing. That was it. No discussion of payment or anything else. The web page I received was pretty generic, with no confirmation number or anything else. Also, I expected a confirmation email of some sort and didn’t get one. The whole thing just seemed odd.
The following day, I finally got an email, but it still seemed short on details (e.g., no confirmation number):
It seems that I could just stroll in whenever I wanted on June 19 — mocking and ridiculing the saps waiting in line — and pick it up. Except that I’ve seen nothing from Apple to indicate “reserved” users get any kind of special treatment in the line. They wait like the rest of them. And how long is the device “held” for you? Who the heck knows? I had visions of waiting in line an hour or two and then told “my” phone was given away (after all, no guarantee is given).
The last straw over was when I read that Apple may have issues with activating your phone if it’s not from a new line or an existing single line. Family plans, for example, may be an issue. I understood this was one reason I couldn’t just buy the phone online, but rather had to reserve it in the first place. However, AT&T had no such restrictions in handling various plans for shipment.
So I went to AT&T and pre-ordered.
In AT&T’s case, after verifying my family plan, and getting my agreement on the $30 data plan (remember, us original iPhone owners had a $20 data plan), it grabbed my credit card information, verified my shipping address, and the deed was done. The carrier is shipping it to me for delivery on June 19.
Unlike Apple, I got a confirmation email right away from AT&T, and I have received another one since then:
Obviously, getting the confirmation email is nice, and having a site to which I can go to check my order is as well. Visiting the status site and entering the requisite info gives me this as of 11:30 PT:
The last item, “Freight,” is new in the last 24 hours. Are they prepping it for shipment?
What’s odd to me is I have no idea what it means when the iPhone arrives. Let’s say I get it on June 19 (the AT&T wording is careful not to actually say that; it’s simply what they’re shooting for), what have I got? Has AT&T done their part, so I just activate it via iTunes? Presumably this would take my current phone number and “kill” my existing iPhone in the process. Must I swap the SIM cards on the phones before I plug the new one into iTunes? Will there be instructions for this? I don’t know.
Or when I get the phone must I then go to an AT&T store and have them do the actual activation? That’ll be a pain, but I’d like to think with one in hand I could bypass the line waiting to purchase one.
It seems to me Apple and AT&T are leaving a lot of questions unanswered for those of us trying to order the thing online. You’d think since this was their third stab at selling a new model they’d have their fecal matter collected by now. I guess not.
Meanwhile, what about my reserved iPhone at the Apple Store? Well, I’ve still got the reservation in place. With the sparse confirmation I got from Apple I see no easy way to cancel it, and since I provided no billing information I’m assuming that they’ll just dole the thing out to someone else when I don’t show up.
So if you’re in line for hours at an Apple store in Southern California, and you finally get your turn, and you’re informed they just sold the last one, and it turns out they really had one more but were holding it for me, yeah, I’m sorry about that.