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MacRumors

macrumors bot
Original poster
Apr 12, 2001
55,463
17,797



Several times in recent days, we've mentioned a website called Apple-Tracker.com that was allowing customers to easily monitor in-store Personal Pickup availability of iPhone 5s and iPad Air models.

The site offered a much more efficient method of checking for availability than on Apple's online store, showing product availability of all capacities of a given color/connectivity combination at the 20 closest retail store locations to a given zip code on a single screen. In contrast, Apple's online store requires users to select a single color/connectivity/capacity combination, enter a zip code, and then navigate through four pages of availability listings to see all 20 closest stores.

apple_tracker.jpg
Late yesterday, the site's operator suddenly shut down the stock tracker, citing a takedown request from Apple's lawyers sent to Heroku, the cloud app platform where the tool had been built. The request had been sent by Apple on October 17 when the site was tracking iPhone 5s availability, but it had since expanded to include iPad Air and was preparing to track Retina iPad mini stocks as well. In particular, Apple cited the tracker's violations of the terms of use for its own site:
Your Use of the Site. You may not use any "deep-link", "page-scrape", "robot", "spider" or other automatic device, program, algorithm or methodology, or any similar or equivalent manual process, to access, acquire, copy or monitor any portion of the Site or any Content, or in any way reproduce or circumvent the navigational structure or presentation of the Site or any Content, to obtain or attempt to obtain any materials, documents or information through any means not purposely made available through the Site. Apple reserves the right to bar any such activity.
"Mordy", the tool's author, notes that he has no interest in fighting Apple on this issue, and so he has shut down the site.

Article Link: Apple Shuts Down iPad Air and iPhone 5s In-Store Pickup Tracking Site
 

trainwrecka

macrumors 6502a
Apr 24, 2007
500
632
Earth
Sounds like a cool tool, but I'm guessing Apple would rather people hunt for that information on their site as it might lead to other sales.
 

Jaro65

macrumors 68040
Mar 27, 2009
3,779
807
Seattle, WA
I was sad to see this service go, as I thought it provided a useful service to potential Apple customers. It is unfortunate that Apple legal team felt compelled to shut it down.
 

Rogifan

macrumors Core
Nov 14, 2011
22,916
29,033
I was sad to see this service go, as I thought it provided a useful service to potential Apple customers. It is unfortunate that Apple legal team felt compelled to shut it down.

Was this site usually accurate?
 

orbital~debris

macrumors 65816
Mar 3, 2004
1,467
2,872
UK, Europe
Also, I should think that Apple are keen to have this third party facility non-operational before the launch of the retina iPad mini… just so it's less obvious how few (potentially) of that product there are in the retail channel (due to the component shortages that have been rumoured).
 

Tankmaze

macrumors 68000
Mar 7, 2012
1,692
329
To be fair, it is apple site that his bot
Use to crawl the site, so apple site terms of use is applied.
 

lewisd25

macrumors 6502a
Jul 6, 2007
849
589
It would be cool if the website's source code could be released so we could run it on personal web servers...
 

matteofox

macrumors newbie
Feb 25, 2011
25
0
I am very upset this service has gone. Although I am european I found interesting to map in one click the availability of iPhones5S in US as it is a proxy of a general availability.
Generally speaking I find upsetting that Apple launches devices without proper supplies. If, on top of that, you make the availability of a device so obscure, customers will not be happy.

I never complained about Apple services or support (they are great!) but when I called the Apple Store in my city and they told me: we cannot tell you if we have iPhones5S in stock, I felt very aggrieved.
 

MrMoore

macrumors 6502
Nov 2, 2006
394
23
Arlington Heights,IL
Was this site usually accurate?

It was for me. I use it to determine if I could get an iPad Air 128 GB. That model was in short supply. The Apple Store near me was at first sold out, but on Saturday I checked apple-tracker again and it showed it was available. I went to online Apple Store, ordered the iPad and was able to pick it up the same day.
 

kalsta

macrumors 68000
May 17, 2010
1,633
392
Australia
Tim Berners-Lee has called Apple out on this sort of policy before. The web was founded on the principle of free sharing of the information posted there. No one is hacking into Apple's private network—this is all freely available public data.

Feel for you Mordy!
 

lkwan

macrumors member
May 3, 2007
74
0
i think it was extremely foolish for apple to request for this site to be taking down....

Now their employees will have to waste their time fielding even more calls for inventory checks...
 

hexagenia

macrumors demi-god
Jan 12, 2007
190
112
New Hampshire
Put your Developers where your lawyers are....

Admitted fanboy, but this is just bogus. Apple's availability couldn't be more difficult to use, hasn't seen improvement in multiple year's, and often doesn't yield timely information. Way to go Tim! Recognize a helpful site? Nope. Threaten with lawyers? Yup. Great model for the industry!:confused:
 

talmy

macrumors 601
Oct 26, 2009
4,721
277
Oregon
Refurb.me has be going for years, scraping the Apple refurbished store. Why hasn't Apple ordered that shutdown???
 

AppleVsAndroid

macrumors member
Nov 12, 2012
64
0
Looking to upgrade to iPhone 5S but I guess its little difficult to get hands on one in Apple store and says 2-3 weeks online. China Mobile will further lead to shortages and Free iPhone on contracts in India is causing the shortage as well over there.

I think I will go for iPhone 6 with bigger screen once S generation messy crowd is done with buying :p
 

franko v

macrumors member
Jul 3, 2010
69
0
Arizona
Was this site usually accurate?

Yes. It was. I used it to track gold iPhones at my local Apple store. When the green check appeared, I immediately went to online Apple Store, selected pickup at store, then ordered it. The phones were in my hand about an hour later.

This blows. I was going to use it to keep an eye on iPad minis with retina display.
 

bjcskier

macrumors member
Jul 9, 2012
64
0
Maybe if Apple had a reasonable store availability tracker like this they wouldn't need to fight others.

Come on, guys. With availability as scarce as the iPhone 5S continues to be (which, after a month and a half is ridiculous - but that's another point), there should be an easy way for customers to figure out what stores have their device of choice available.
 

griffd

macrumors newbie
Sep 16, 2006
27
2
Orlando, FL
Apple obviously has its reasons that may not be apparent. For one, this information is valuable to marketers of competing products to show popularity of different models/sizes/colors/carries - information that Apple never releases when they announce their sales numbers. In addition, I'm sure they are constantly hammering Apple's site to scrape this availability information.
 
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