iPhone 6 Update
I wrote last week about how I had stayed up late to order the iPhone 6 as it first became available [Link]. Today’s installment is an update. When I ordered last week, the on-line store said that my iPhone would be delivered today. Unfortunately, that was in Apple’s perfect world, not the real world.
Two days ago, I got an email from Apple saying that my phone had been delayed and that the new expected delivery date was September 28 (pushed back from September 19). The email included no reason, and since I was reading about how demand from the phone was overwhelming systems at Apple and at the various phone carriers, I presumed that Apple had completely sold out of the version I wanted within the 42 minutes between when they started selling and when my order went through.
That turns out to have been partly true – but not completely. Yesterday, I got another update from Apple, saying that they were having trouble confirming with AT&T that I was supposed to be getting subsidised pricing for my phone. I knew that my two-year contract had expired (I checked that before I placed the order), so clearly this could be cleared up. So I got on the phone.
My first call was to AT&T to make sure that they agreed with me that I deserved subsidised pricing. This proved to be more difficult than I expected. I explained the situation to the first AT&T rep, who looked at my account and said “this shows that you received subsidised pricing on September 12, 2014, so your contract will not expire until September 12, 2016.” I explained that the transaction on September 12, 2014 was the purchase of my iPhone 6 – the purchase that I was trying to complete. She then agreed that I should get the pricing but said she could not do anything with that system, and had to pass me along to someone else in the chain.
The second AT&T rep then went through the exact same script of questions, told me that their system said I was not eligible for subsidised pricing (because I just got it on September 12) and then agreed that the transaction I was calling about was the same as the one that their system showed. But, the second person could also not do anything with that part of the system, but rather had to pass me along to a third AT&T rep.
With the third rep, the exact same thing happened again. But this time, instead of telling me that she needed to transfer me to another AT&T rep, she needed to transfer me to an Apple rep. She placed me on hold to get the Apple rep, and the call failed.
I called back to AT&T and explained the history – that I had been in the process of being transferred to Apple Support when the call failed, and asked the first person to please transfer me over to Apple. I was surprised (and pleased) that she was able to do so without passing me on to other levels of AT&T support. She put me on hold to transfer me to Apple and . . . the call failed.
By now, I had dealt with AT&T as much as I could while staying polite. My wife (a wonderful internet researcher) found an 800 number for Apple’s iPhone support, so I called directly to that number. I again went through my situation, and the Apple rep said “we have a special group handling problems like this – it will be about a five minute wait, but I will transfer you over to them.”
The wait was closer to three minutes than five. When I explained why I was calling, the Apple rep told me that Apple’s selling over 4 million phone within a very short period of time on the first day of pre-sales had completely overwhelmed the systems between Apple and the carriers. Apple was having to manually confirm with the carrier (in my case, AT&T) that a purchaser was eligible for subsidy pricing rather than depend on the computer systems. He said that many, many people were in the same situation as I was in, apologized, and said that I didn’t need to do anything. Apple would do whatever it took to dig out from under their backlog and would get my phone to me no later than September 28, and they would do their best to get it to me sooner.
I asked “So, you are telling me to just sit tight and wait?”
The answer (after a pause): “Yes.”
“OK,” I said, “I can do that.”
The Apple rep let out a breath and said “Thank you. I was worried that you were about to yell at me.”
I told him that I could yell at him if it would help me get my phone faster (he laughed and said that it wouldn’t), wished him a good night, and went to dinner with a friend from Hong Kong (who was busy throughout dinner texting with his secretary, trying to see if she was able to pick up the three iPhones that he had ordered for in-store delivery in Hong Kong. Since it was Thursday night here in California, it was already Friday in Hong Kong and the phones were already on sale.
Then, today, I got yet another email from Apple. It let me know that my iPhone had shipped and gave me a UPS tracking number. Checking with UPS, they are anticipating delivery on Monday! I don’t know if the Apple rep I talked with last night worked some magic to get me a phone faster as a thank you for being nice, or whether it is simply the Apple way of “under-promise and over-deliver.”
Either way, I am looking forward to getting a shiny new toy on Monday.
It might be a long weekend.