Two Hours to buy an iPhone

That is just too long.  I called ahead, made sure that the local Apple Store had the phone my wife wanted in stock.  We get there, on a Wednesday night, and have to wait for a blue shirt to free up.  When one of the blue shirts finally does free up, he manages to get the new iPhone assigned to my number (I have a gen one iPhone and see no reason to upgrade), instead of my wife’s number.

Of course, they can’t fix the problem there, so we have to hike to the AT&T store, wait twenty more minutes for someone there to free up, and then another 45+ minutes for the AT&T rep to reset my account back to the way it was.  That should have taken five minutes, tops!

Instead, it was a major operation.  The AT&T rep had to program a new sim card for my phone!  Then the obnoxious process of having to register my iphone through iTunes once again.

So over half of my time was wasted because Apple screwed up my AT&T account, and I still don’t have the iPhone I came there to buy for my wife.

I understand that AT&T wants to make sure it makes its money back on the iPhones it is paying part of the cost on, but they have gone to new lengths to make the process difficult and un-consumer friendly for those of us who are actually trying to buy the Apple iPhone legally.

I’ve been a customer of AT&T Mobile (as they are now calling themselves) for over a decade.  I have five numbers on my account.  Never before have I run into a case where I was trying to sign up for a more expensive service plan and AT&T refused to take my money.

Until last night.  AT&T’s ovewheleming desire to make sure they squeeze every penny out of the iPhone rates means that they are putting the screws to long time loyal customers like myself.

The only bright point was that someone at the Apple Store finally figured out what customer service was. I managed to get the iPhone for my wife, with it actually assigned to her number, after just over two hours.

I’ll talk about the anti-consumer changes AT&T made to the rate plans later.  That’s a big reason I’m sticking with first gen iPhone.

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7 Responses

  1. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Steve Jobs runs a Cult, not a Company.

  2. Pretty much. The Cult did manage to produce the best handheld Internet access device.

    The gphone folks have a high bar to hurdle.

  3. True, but aren’t they still losing money on them?

    Really, most of Apples products are financial losers, with the one gleaming exception: The Ipod. I’ve heard it said that before the Ipod came along, it was looking like Apple was going to go Chapter 11..

  4. The iPod did do a *lot* toward turning Apple around. So did getting rid of the last CEO and bringing Jobs to rule with an Iron Fist.

    If anything, I would say that most Apple *computer” products sell with less of a razor thin margin than the Windows box sellers like Dell/HP/etc. do. That’s an advantage of owning the hardware platform as well as the software.

    Apple computer sales are also up over the last year. In a big part due to their successful media campaign beating the crap out of Vista.

    Apple has issues for sure, including the whole “cult” thing, and the closed platform. On the plus side, they do understand the whole user interface and ease of thing at a fundamental level that Microsoft seems incapable of doing.
    You can’t win on that alone though. See Palm as an example of a company that understands user interface issues, yet got its ass kicked.

  5. They also have a problem with Hardware – the OS is good, but it seems like so much of the electronics stuffed into their machines is junk. Don’t get me started on their customer service problems.

    Then there’s my other issue with with Apple – the way the software is designed, it takes over everything – case in point: Itunes(One of the most destested pieces software I can think of). It’s like Jobs knowlingly plays into the old joke: Microsoft thinks it’s customers are idiots, Apple knows it!”.

  6. I’m not disagreeing with anything you are saying about Apple. They are arrogant and don’t like anybody playing in “their sandbox.”

    They do understand the whole user interface and ease of thing at a fundamental level that Microsoft seems incapable of doing.

    That is why their desktop sales are up, taking market share away from platforms running Vista, and iPhones sell like hotcakes laced with Crack.

    Interestingly enough, I’m hearing some very nice buzz about cell phone/Mobile Internet Devices running a LINUX based OS. Apparently, they are leaving Google’s Android OS in the dust, feature wise and availability wise.

    The LINUX OS offers a much lower cost alternative to cell phone manufactures than the licensing costs of MS Mobile. I’m sure that there are those in AT&T management who would be willing to trade the openness of a LINUX OS for the hassles Steve Jobs is putting them through with the iPhone licensing.

  7. I suspect that the iPhone wouldn’t have the reputation it does if it threw an error message when it reset.

    I use Smart playlists exclusively, usually with a “Not played within X days” filter on them. That way, I can bounce between multiple playlists without hearing the same song twice.

    Unless the iPhone resets, in which case it forgets everything that was played since it was last synchronized. This happens, I dunno, about once a week to me.

    It’s a shame, because the web browser and navigation software are first rate. It’s really the best combination between screen and size that’s out there, as far as I know.

    But I kind of suspect that any attempt to get the iPhone to do something serious, like to-do lists or document editing, is going to crash into some serious unadressed bugs in the OS.

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