Rule #1: Trust no one. Rule #2: If you trust anyone, trust Apple. Rule #3: See Rule #1. After walking through Apple’s slow walk iPhone X launch, I’m back to square one and Rule #1. Trust no one.
Here’s the deal. I get a new iPhone every year, give or take a month or two. Two years ago I signed up for the iPhone Upgrade Program because it has zero interest, and Apple Care is mashed into the monthly payment plan. Pay for 24 months and you own the iPhone leased. Pay for 12 months and get a new iPhone (which starts the 24 month clock ticking again).
This year, in anticipation of iPhone X’s expected supply shortfall and high demand, Apple made iPhone Upgrade Program even more enticing for current members. Pre-approval. A week or two ago I received email from Apple with a link to get pre-approved for iPhone X, ostensibly to speed through the purchase process.
It’s not as if the iPhone Upgrade Program is a speed bump to getting a new phone. It took only minutes to qualify and get approval two years ago, and about the same amount of time last year, but when you’re ordering a new iPhone that is expected to be in high demand at 12:01 am PDT, every minute counts.
Apple made the pre-approval process painless, but made the actual purchase process completely painful. First, the purchase was confined to the Apple Store app on the iPhone. Not Apple.com. Not the Mac. Not the iPad. iPhone. Second, while Apple.com allowed iPhone X customers to walk through the standard selection, approval, and purchase process, the Apple Store app in the iPhone would not connect to Apple.
Simply put, Apple made pre-approval easy, but made actual purchase impossible. At least, impossible for about half an hour. Maybe more. I don’t know because after 15-minutes of delay I went to Apple.com and walked through the approval steps again, including the selection my favored iPhone X model.
That extra half hour of effort pushed the iPhone X’s delivery date into later December. That’s December 2017, if you’re curious to know. Tech writer Jason Perlow had a similar issue and we were not alone:
I chose my desired phone — a 256GB model worth $1400 with the included Applecare — and I filled out the quick credit application with Citizen’s One, Apple’s financial partner for the upgrade program.
I was expecting a minute of anxiety and then an all clear, you’re good to go, pick the thing up in Boca Raton next week. My credit is perfect, something in like the high 700s. Not to worry.
Instead, I got a message that they could not verify my financial information and they would let me know within 8 hours, and please do not attempt to apply again.
The difference is that I was already pre-approved as an existing iPhone Upgrade Program customer. The Apple Store app on my iPhone and iPad remained stuck in the ‘waiting’ steps for more than 15-minutes. When I finally got the process started on Apple.com, I received a dozen different error messages with requests to back up and start again.
Finally, after nearly 30-minutes, my order went through. But not the iPhone Upgrade Program approval. That came the next morning. Just in time for me to cancel my order. I’ll take my chances and walk into an Apple Store when supply gets closer to demand. That’s what I’ve done every year for many years. Only when I trusted Apple to make the pre-approval process easier and faster by being an iPhone Upgrade Program subscriber did my pooch get screwed.
Rule #1: Trust no one.
Rule #2: If you trust anyone, trust Apple. Rule #2: See Rule #1.