It appears that although the iPhone 4S has few tangible changes compared with its predecessor, it has been a commercial success. We’ve seen the usual queues at Apple stores across the world, and after selling out immediately online, dispatch dates for orders of the phone have now been pushed back to 1-2 weeks at the least.
Apple has taken an unprecedented step of launching a new system which allows customers to reserve a new iPhone from 9pm and collect it in store the next day.
Sometimes the store list and the ‘Next’ button appears, but very often it doesn’t. The reservation system seems quite buggy at the moment, and not conforming to Apple’s usual polished standards. Pressing ‘refresh’ in the browser doesn’t seem to make any difference. You may need to go backwards and forwards between this page and the previous one a few times. Whatever would Steve think?
Eventually, you’ll be presented with a list of Apple stores, which are all located in areas of dense population. Apple official resellers aren’t included in the list.
When you click ‘Next’, you’ll most likely be presented with the following screen, with ‘Unavailable’ starkly written in red six times:
I’ve only once been able to find some availability, and that offered me a time slot which I couldn’t reach due to other commitments. I was expecting that the service would be a Currys or Argos style ‘pick up anytime’ system, and I’m disappointed to see fixed times. However, I guess this way allows Apple to sell a phone to someone else, perhaps once morning timeslots have passed. This makes commercial sense, considering that it is a highly sought after gadget yet one with a short shelf life, considering that a new model will perhaps be out in twelve months or less.
Hopefully the availability problems will be resolved shortly, though Apple only has a short amount of time until potential customers decide that they will be waiting for bigger upgrades on the iPhone 5 instead.