Buying the iPhone 6

I was fortunate enough to go to Macworld in 2007, where Steve Jobs introduced the original iPhone at his Keynote address.  Since then, I have purchased each new version of iPhone as soon as it has become available (with the exception of the iPhone 3G).  A couple of times I took time off work to stand in the lines to buy at an Apple Store on the first day of availability.  In the past couple of years, I have stayed up to pre-order as the phones became available – essentially the on-live equivalent of standing in line at a store.  It is always enjoyable, a combination of anticipating Christmas morning and pulling on the lever of a slot machine (“I’m sure that this time when I hit refresh, I will get to buy!”).  Last night was my annual “buy the new iPhone” night.

I started refreshing my mac’s connection to the online Apple Store right at midnight PDT.  While the articles that I had read said sales would begin at 12:01, I didn’t totally trust that my clock and Apple’s clock would be in sync.  The store showed its “We’ll be back soon” announcement.  I refreshed every 15 seconds – who knew how many slides Apple had made in different languages, presumably all saying “We’ll be back soon.”  Time stretch on.  At 12:15 – “We’ll be back soon.”  at 12:30 – “We’ll be back soon.”  I was still refreshing every 15 seconds, still convinced that the next refresh would be the one that worked.

I was also monitoring several on-line communities of Apple fans, and had not seen anyone announcing success in purchasing.  Everyone was seeing exactly what I was seeing:  “We’ll be back soon.”  Then, between 12:30 and 12:45, I saw the first announcement that someone had purchased a phone.  That person had gotten into the store using the Apple Store app on an iPad rather than in online store via a browser.

My iPad was across the room, but I had my iPhone 5s in my pocket, so I pulled it out and started the Apple Store app.  On the very first try, it connected!  Not that it immediately allowed me to buy, but at least I had a connection to the store and an interesting circle go ing around and round in the middle of the screen.  This was interesting, so I let the circle continue to go around on the phone while I resumed refreshing on my mac – “We’ll be back soon.”

After a minute or two of seeing the circle spin, my iPhone connected with the screen for purchasing the iPhone 6.  From there, it was straightforward and smooth – select whether I wanted the iPhone 6 or the huge iPhone 6+, select the color and amount of storage, select the carrier.  The application even sensed that I was connecting via my iPhone 5s and asked if I was buying an iPhone 6 to upgrade my existing account with AT&T!  I finished selecting everything and put it in the shopping cart.

Then I experienced the only issue.  I have had excellent experience getting support from Apple, so I always purchase AppleCare for my phones.  But when I tried to select AppleCare last night, the app on my iPhone crashed.  It took several attempts on my phone to reconnect to the store (the phone version of “We’ll be back soon”), but I did reconnect within a few minutes.  I was worrying that the phone I had selected might be gone, that the computers might not still recognize that I was eligible for a subsidized price, etc.  But, the phone was still in my shopping cart and everything looked right.  Rather than risk another crash, I proceeded to checkout without a case or the AppleCare.

Success!  My new iPhone 6 should be delivered to my home next Friday, September 19.

This morning, I went back to the on-line store (by this morning, I could get through easily via my mac) and bought two cases (one leather, one silicone).  But I was not able to order AppleCare – apparently the software for the store is designed to only sell AppleCare when a phone is being purchased in the same order.  I’ll have to let things at Apple calm down a bit and talk with someone about how to buy it later.

I have not seen any articles about whether Apple was having technical difficulties last night or whether the store was simply overwhelmed by demand.  It does seem odd that the iOS Apple Store could get to sales but the web Apple Store could not – I’ll keep looking for the answer to that question.


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