I'm not seeing why we can't order it online.

Discussion in 'iPhone' started by LoganT, Jul 15, 2008.

  1. LoganT macrumors 68020

    Jan 9, 2007
    Seriously, what's the excuse? We can sign up for a contract online and activate it at home. AT&T gets the contract and we get the phone, we're still in a contract. I'm not seeing the problem here. Can anyone give me a legitimate excuse as to why we can't order online?
  2. MacGeek7 macrumors 6502a


    Aug 25, 2007
    Other then the in-store credit check I can't think of a reason - and not being able to do so makes it nearly impossible to give them as gifts...
  3. alexmarchuk macrumors 6502a


    Jun 28, 2007
    New Jersey
    Maybe they've got too many orders to fulfill as it is? People are still having their iPhones backordered.
  4. Chundles macrumors G4


    Jul 4, 2005
    Because if you got the phone delivered to your home there's nothing stopping you jailbreaking and unlocking the thing and selling it at a massive markup to somewhere in the world that doesn't have them yet.

    That's what happened with the first phones and I'll be AT&T threw a whole mess of lawyers at Apple. Now that they are subsidising the phone, AT&T need to recoup that money as quickly as possible so you need to sign up physically in store.
  5. nickspohn macrumors 68040


    Jun 9, 2007
    At least for now, Apple is never going to have the iPhone sold on it's website.

    I was talking to the dudes at AT&T while waiting in line. I brought up some of this stuff, and they said they won't be doing this anytime soon, as they have to activate the phones in stores, and it's going to have to be that way for a while.

    Why not just go to an Apple/AT&T store?

    And IMO, you can blame Apple for all of this. Not AT&T. All those activation delays? All Apple, because of them, AT&T had to go to this level.
  6. seenett macrumors regular

    Dec 4, 2007
    I agree -

    I got one of the last phones at an AT&T store on Friday. After all the computer/activation problems, it took me only 3 minutes (AFTER 4 hours in line). I just signed the contract/receipt, they scanned the phone's IMEI number and put it on my account. I walked out with my iPhone still in the shrink wrap. Sure I was an existing customer so it was easier, but if they can do it for me they can do it for any existing customer.
  7. LoganT thread starter macrumors 68020

    Jan 9, 2007
    But you would have already signed the contract. Guess what someone could pick up the phone from the apple store, sign up for the contract and unlock it too. I'm not getting the argument.
  8. Xenious macrumors 6502a

    Mar 22, 2004
    Texas, USA
    /me points to ebay.com today.... plenty of 3G iphones for sale.
  9. mkoesel macrumors 6502

    Mar 31, 2005
    There will be no way to force the phone to be linked to the contract.

    People would be buying phones and activating them (or not even activating them), and then wanting to cancel contracts claiming that they were not able to obtain a phone. In fact, that would have been the reality for a great many people so AT&T would have been forced to honor such requests.

    The way the process is setup now, it is impossible to obtain a phone without a contract, and also it is impossible to obtain a contract without a phone. The two are indelibly tied together. The only real practical way to do this is to force the two actions to take place at the exact same time, i.e. in a store. Now, conceivably, they could have had you provide the Apple Online Store with your AT&T account information and then they could sign you up when they ship your phone, or not sign you up if you cancel before it ships. But this would mean they'd have to store your account information temporarily which is a huge liability (not to mention cost) to them.

    I know how you feel though. I have been thinking about this too since I got screwed by the "must sign contract in store" business rule (I had a discount on my account). I think that next time they have to have a better system.

    I am still very curious to see what AT&T tries to do to those who break contracts early, especially in the first month. Obviously they cannot come to your house and take the phone back. All they can do is charge you fees. So it will be interesting to see what fees they end up charging.
  10. w0ngbr4d macrumors regular

    Jan 10, 2006
    Findlay, OH
    I agree

    There is no reason not to sell these online.

    Last years process:
    Buy iPhone instore/online
    Plug into iTunes
    Complete contract, porting, etc.

    This years process could be:
    Buy iPhone in store (following the process being used today)
    Buy iPhone online (apple.com/att.com)
    Complete contract on website (just like last year)
    Wait for phone to arrive w/ AT&T packet (including SIM)
    Plug into iTunes
    Complete porting/activation process

    The key is getting the contract signed BEFORE the product is released to the customer.

    If there are problems with this, please point them out. It would be much easier to do it this way then drive 1.5 hours, and wait another 4 to have a chance on getting a phone, considering they can't keep the Midwest stocked.
  11. nickspohn macrumors 68040


    Jun 9, 2007
    When you say "Complete contract" (just like last year) that wasn't the case for last year. You could order a phone and not have to do anything on the website except pay for it.
  12. Loonytik macrumors 6502a


    Jun 2, 2008
    Sell your phone on ebay....cancel your contract and pay the ETF. Done.
  13. mkoesel macrumors 6502

    Mar 31, 2005
    Not done. Allegedly AT&T can then charge you another $400 to complete the sale of the phone. This has neither been confirmed nor tested to my knowledge. But it certainly seem plausible.
  14. viggen61 macrumors 6502

    Jul 24, 2002
    New Jersey
    Um, why not? I can go onto an AT&T website and order up a Blackberry or Treo or Tilt or Moto Q with the exact SAME contract and have it delivered to my doorstep. Or any other phone (smart or otherwise), for that matter.

    When you buy online, the phone comes to you already activated. The worst you have to do is make a call on the phone to start the contract. And if you don't call, it automatically activates after so many days after shipment.

    Or online, just like AT&T does it now with everything else they sell.

    Or more likely, simply shift you off to a special site on AT&Ts server farm.

    The biggest reason for not allowing online purchase & activation at launch would probably be that AT&T (or Apple, probably) doesn't have the server capacity to handle this many transactions. Look what happened in the UK (was it?) where the online pre-order system crashed.

    It would not surprise me one bit if the iPhone 3G becomes available online in a few weeks, after the pent-up demand is satisfied, and they can be sold online without fears of bringing down anyone's network.

  15. LoganT thread starter macrumors 68020

    Jan 9, 2007
    Here's what would happen.

    Select phone on website>Sign up for a contract>ATT tells you there will be a huge bill if you do not activate within 30 days>Buy phone>Activate on iTunes.

    It's really quite simple. You could do ever precaution that you do at a store using the online store. In this case you wouldn't even be allowed to buy it without a contract. I mean I thought the iPhone was like "every other phone", well ATT sells "every other phone" online.
  16. nbs2 macrumors 68030


    Mar 31, 2004
    A geographical oddity
    I see your point. ATT could see online just like their other phones. But, I think the reasoning for them is that they want the publicity that comes with the long lines of people (look how popular we are) and the sales of accessories. That's the best I can do.
  17. w0ngbr4d macrumors regular

    Jan 10, 2006
    Findlay, OH
    I understand that. What I was eluding to was the Contract process that was done in iTunes last year could be done on the Apple/AT&T website in the same fashion this year BEFORE the iPhone is in the customers hands. The the phone would be shipped out to the customer w/ a SIM card, then the customer could complete the rest of the process in iTunes.

    If the iPhone would not be activated by a certain date, like some one previously mentioned, the full unsubsidized price would be charged to the customers original method of payment. In fact, they could charge the full amount then just refund it the subsidy when activated, this would be the best route in my opinion.
  18. neiltc13 macrumors 68040


    May 27, 2006
    My iPhone 3G is being delivered by DHL tomorrow. I won't be queueing for anyone and it's going to arrive sealed.

    I signed a contract online by ticking a box.
  19. w0ngbr4d macrumors regular

    Jan 10, 2006
    Findlay, OH
    It must be something to do with AT&T then. Since the only difference between the US and the UK is the service provider.
  20. mkoesel macrumors 6502

    Mar 31, 2005
    But this is ordering from AT&T directly. Surely the big issue is that Apple would then want to offer them at their own web store at their own website, and so they would need some backend software in between to coordinate. This would accomplish the same thing as the little handheld scanners used in the Apple Stores accomplished, but on a much grander scale. Likely it would be expensive to develop.

    One could argue Apple should set their ego aside and just let AT&T handle all sales of the phone. Not a terrible idea at all. However we know that won't happen. As long as Apple is in the game, and no bulletproof solution exists for third parties to use AT&Ts backend business software, then its going to remain an in store proposition to buy an iPhone.

    That reason does not fully explain it either though, since clearly that did not stop them from attempting many concurrent activations in store and having the same problems.

    Possible. I guess if it does happen, then your suggestion that the software exists but simply would not scale for launch day traffic could hold water.

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