Outstanding!: October 2008 Archives


October 29, 2008

Mrs. G has been bugging me for weeks to get her an iPhone, so I checked out the Apple prepurchasing process. What a lose! One of the great things about the old iPhone was that you just bought the box and could activate it from home. Unfortunately, that was just too easy, so now you can do the initial steps at home but then you need to go into the store to show them your credit card, ID, etc. and pick up the phone. This is dramatically less convenient, especially because you don't get a complete rundown on your order from home—which makes life irritating for Mrs. G when she heads over to Apple. Also, they let you make an appointment but since you haven't selected your phone model, there's no guarantee that it will be in stock when you get there.

The rationale for the new policy has never been entirely clear to me, but my impression is that it was intended to stop you from buying the phone and then jailbreaking it without ever signing a contract with AT&T. Still, it's not clear to me why. Couldn't they just charge you one price for an unactivated (though still SIM-locked) phone ($400 is the nominal price + the early termination fee) and then a rebate when you sign up for an AT&T account? This would have much the same security properties, but be a lot more convenient for the user.