Apple store vs. AT&T store for buying a new iphone

Discussion in 'iPhone' started by starryeyedkat, Feb 9, 2010.

  1. starryeyedkat macrumors newbie

    starryeyedkat

    Joined:
    Jan 2, 2008
    Location:
    Connecticut, USA
    #1
    I'm getting an iphone today or Thursday (tomorrow is supposed to be a huge snowstorm) and I don't know where to buy it. I stopped by the mall yesterday and asked the guy at the att store and the girl at the apple store where to buy it and they both said their store. (guess I should have seen that coming!)

    Anyway, my question is, where would be best to buy an iphone 3gs with mobile me and applecare? Should I go to the apple store to buy it, then go to att to get it hooked up, or do it all through att?
     
  2. aristobrat macrumors G4

    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2005
    #2
    Wherever you buy it from should activate the phone for you (before you leave the store).

    It's been my experience that the Apple Store has more of a variety of cases and accessories, so if you're looking to buy one at the same time, you might consider the Apple Store.

    If you have some screwy situation going on with your AT&T account, you might want to head to an AT&T store. The Apple Store can sell you (and activate) an iPhone, but they don't have direct access to your AT&T account (if you have one), so if there is something weird with it, they'll end up on the phone having to talk to AT&T. If you know in advance that's likely to happen to you, you might consider going to the AT&T store.

    Other than that, the iPhone price is the same at either store.

    Both should carry AppleCare and MobileMe. Apple should offer you a $30 discount on MobileMe if you buy it with your iPhone. Not sure if AT&T honors that discount.
     
  3. tritonj macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jun 12, 2008
    #3
    i believe you are charged tax on the full retail price at an Apple store but at ATT you are charged tax on the subsidized price, at least that is what i remember hearing
     
  4. cdinca macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jun 13, 2007
    #4
    Buy from Apple store!

    I bought my wife her original iPhone from an AT&T store. Day 2 we realized vibrate did not work. Took it in to AT&T and they said, all they could do is send me to the Apple store to have a genius look at it. AT&T would not take it back unless I canceled the iphone account. They would not do an exchange.

    I took it to apple, and they said, "yes it is broken...here is a refurb." At that time refurbs were going for $100 less than new ones, so this made me grumpy. Apple informed me that if I had bought from them I could have received a brand new one for up to 14 days after purchase for any reason I wanted. I would basically just be returning it and buying a new one with their 14 day "any reason" return policy. AT&T does not have this.

    The refurb was fine, it was just knowing that I could have saved $100 and ended up with the exact same phone 2 days after purchase, that bummed me out.
     
  5. jav6454 macrumors P6

    jav6454

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    Nov 14, 2007
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    1 Geostationary Tower Plaza
    #5
    Apple Store. That way they can answer specific AppleCare and MobileMe questions you might have.
     
  6. lionheartednyhc macrumors 65816

    lionheartednyhc

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2009
    #6
    THIS is why you want to buy it from Apple. If you get it, and it stops working within the first 30 days you will get a NEW one.

    /thread.
     
  7. lionheartednyhc macrumors 65816

    lionheartednyhc

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2009
    #7
    Believe it or not, tax is mandated by the government and not the retailer.
     
  8. Cartoonkid macrumors 6502

    Cartoonkid

    Joined:
    Apr 29, 2009
    Location:
    Costa Mesa, CA
    #8
    Depends on the state in which you make the purchase. CA charges sales tax on the unsubsidized (full) price, regardless of whether you buy it at AT&T or Apple.
     
  9. aristobrat macrumors G4

    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2005
    #9
    When Apple refurbs an iPhone, it puts it in a new exterior shell, throws in a new battery, resets the device with the latest firmware, and wraps the device in that plastic stuff you have to pull off. You shouldn't be able to look at an Apple refurb and visibly tell it's refurbed. Apple doesn't sell its refurbed iPhones; they're only available as Genius Bar/AppleCare swaps.

    When AT&T refurbs an iPhone (that was returned in working condition from another customer), it takes basically just repackages what what the customer brought back. No new exterior shell, no new battery. If the original customer scratched/dinged the iPhone before they returned it, you're going to get it scratched and dinged. I've seen threads on here where the AT&T refurb arrived with tons of fingerprints all over it, and at least one case, with the prior owners info still on it! :eek:

    Like you, I'll still recommend buying new at Apple (for the ability to get a new iPhone if yours dies within the first 14 days), but I think that the refurbed phone you got via the Genius Bar was a safer bet than buying a refurb from AT&T (for $100 less!)
     
  10. cdinca macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jun 13, 2007
    #10
    It was actually when the Apple Store online started selling refurbs for $100 less.
     
  11. aristobrat macrumors G4

    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2005
    #11
    Hmm, I've never seee the Apple Store online sell refurb'ed 3G/3Gs. Are you talking about the original model iPhone? :confused:
     
  12. starryeyedkat thread starter macrumors newbie

    starryeyedkat

    Joined:
    Jan 2, 2008
    Location:
    Connecticut, USA
    #12
    Hm, thank you all for the advice.

    Something I probably should have mentioned in my original post- I have verizon, I am switching to at&t. That means if I do get the iphone at apple, I def have to go to att to get it activated, right?

    Am I understanding this: if I buy my iphone at at&t, apple won't give me a new one if it breaks? That alone would be worth the hassle of buying at apple, then going to ATT.
     
  13. mstrze macrumors 68000

    Joined:
    Nov 6, 2009
    #14
    Odd, because I got my 3G iPhone through an AT&T store, after almost a full year, I had issues with the bottom portion of the touchscreen not responding to touch. Made an appointment at the Apple store Genius Bar and received a brand new phone that day for no charge. :D

    So, I personally, see no issue no matter where you buy...unless I am somehow blessed. I know for a fact I did NOT buy AppleCare...never have. I'm one of those guys who always forgoes the extended warranty stuff...hasn't let me down yet (crosses fingers).
     
  14. aristobrat macrumors G4

    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2005
    #15
    Nope, any place that sells iPhones can (and is supposed to) activate it for you, before you leave. The Apple Store can create a new AT&T account for you, and port over your Verizon telephone number if you want.

    If you decide to buy at the Apple Store, you can actually do a lot of the "paperwork" online, before you get to the store. (Actually, if you don't do this part online before you go to the Apple Store, they'll generally put you in front of an iMac at the Apple Store and have you do it there, and then sell you the phone). Either way, you'll need to know your Verizon account number, if you want to port your Verizon phone number over. :)

    http://www.apple.com/iphone/buy
     
  15. jdusoccer12 macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Aug 3, 2008
    #16
    No Apple will activate it for you, you won't have to go to the AT&T store at all. Apple will do everything for you.
     
  16. lionheartednyhc macrumors 65816

    lionheartednyhc

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2009
    #17
    No, Apple can do it. Easiest way is to fill out this form online... Then go to the store and it will be super easy.

    https://buyiphone.apple.com/WebObjects/IPACustomer.woa/
     
  17. cdinca macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jun 13, 2007
    #18
    I guess I wasn't totally clear when I said original iPhone, I meant original model iPhone.
     
  18. dfeigenbaum1 macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jan 27, 2010
    #19
    I have only received refurbs from apple store, my original 3gs stopped seeing who was calling, got a refurb, that phone worked for a month and did the exact same thing, got another refurb, that lasted about 5 or 6 weeks, mms stopped working unless you attached a pic with it, apple genius said that i had to go to setting and change, I stopped him right there and said, i did not buy a used car, and i did not want to hear his work around, i demanded a new phone and got another refurb, which on the very same day bricked. I called apple and i do have apple care told them about my experience, went back to the store and got a new phone not a refurb, with a box charger the works, so with all that said, apple needs to do a much better job. I hope that i never need a replacement again!!! I do not know how ATT handles these type of problems
     
  19. appleguy123 macrumors 603

    appleguy123

    Joined:
    Apr 1, 2009
    Location:
    15 minutes in the future
    #20
    At least in my state you pay tax on the subsidized price at both stores. I bought by 2g and 3gS at AT&T and 3g at Apple.
     
  20. joebobthehob macrumors member

    Joined:
    Jan 27, 2010
    #21
    Truly "screwy situations" are usually best handled by just calling 611. While AT&T stores have more access than your average retailer, they don't have anything close to full access to the account and very limited training in dealing with things other than sales and device support. So it's quite likely that you'll just end up standing there while they call customer care.
     
  21. goobot macrumors 603

    goobot

    Joined:
    Jun 26, 2009
    Location:
    long island NY
    #22
    i have bought from both. apple does a horrible job setting it up with the activation. they took more than an hour, i got charged extra, and i got a number from a different area code. then when i went to get the 3gs from them they didnt know how to get the subsidized price. so i just went with att. the only thing was that the att guy tried to lie to me.
     
  22. aristobrat macrumors G4

    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2005
    #23
    Yeah, Apple has zero control over the subsidized price.

    During the purchase process, they send your telephone number, billing zip code, and last four of your SSN over to AT&T, and AT&T returns the price that you are eligible to buy the iPhone for. Nobody in the Apple Store can override the price that AT&T comes back with.
     
  23. Oman macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jun 23, 2008
    #24
    I would go to Best Buy myself, I like their warranty. I have it on my son iPhone and they have taken care multiple issues he have caused and they give you a loaner phone if they have to send it out for repair. Apple is good for the first year, but they do not cover some of the issues that BestBuy warranty cover.
     
  24. terraphantm macrumors 68040

    Joined:
    Jun 27, 2009
    Location:
    Pennsylvania
    #25
    When my friend bought an iPhone from the AT&T store around late november, he got a 3.0.1 iPhone w/ the old bootrom so it was jailbreakable and unlockable fwiw
     

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