If you signed up for the Apple iPhone Upgrade program last year, and are upgrading to the new iPhone 7 this year, here are some observations I’ve discovered:
To upgrade, you must schedule an in-store appointment. This makes sense. You need to turn in your phone before they give you a new one. But there is one problem: In-store appointments can only be booked based upon the stock that each individual store receives. All other online iPhone purchases are drawn from the global supply, shipped directly from China. In-store appointments draw from the inventory of each individual store. This severely limits your ability to not only obtain the phone of your choice, but even a phone at all. You are competing with not only a very limited batch of phones allocated to each store (as compared to the global supply every other online order draws from), but also every other person who pre-ordered for an in-store pickup.
In the case of the iPhone 7 launch, if you didn’t manage to book an appointment within a few minutes of the phone going on sale, you were blocked out of upgrading at all until the phone actually arrives in stores – at which point you are forced to check the inventory of all local Apple Stores until you find one that is acceptable.
Is this how Apple really intends the ‘Upgrade Program’ to work? This is an awful experience. So how do we make it better?
One solution I can see working: Let us reserve the iPhone from the global inventory, and have it ship to a local Apple Store. Even if the ship date slips, you still have the choice to wait for the phone you want, and it completely alleviates any anxiety of having to search for the phone you want daily, competing with all of the other customers who didn’t pre-order, or whom aren’t on the upgrade program.
Sounds simple and fair, right? Hopefully Apple reads this and takes it under consideration. It really stinks to be on the Upgrade Program, with no convenient and viable path to upgrade.
Mac Rumors has a post and thread echoing these exact woes.