iPhone Upgrade Program Causes Headaches on Launch Day Due to Limited Stock

While the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus became available for pre-order at 12:01 a.m. Pacific Time this morning, some customers enrolled in the iPhone Upgrade Program were unable to select the model, carrier, color, or storage capacity they desired due to limited stock seemingly as soon as orders began.

iphone-7-box
MacRumors reader Pbrutto of Allentown, Pennsylvania said that there were no iPhones available for him to pre-order, while many other existing iPhone Upgrade Program members were unable to order the specific model they wanted from Apple retail stores in their local areas, even immediately at 12:01 a.m. Pacific Time.

My experience was logging in the moment that the Apple Store app was working only to see no availability and no way to pre order an iPhone. Seriously, Apple did not let their most loyal customers even place a pre order.

MacRumors reader Markarian421 shared a similar experience:

Same experience. Existing iPhone Upgrade Program member, but the only color available the instant the store opened was Rose Gold. My iPhone 6s Plus is Rose Gold, and I love it, but this is a black bezel year for me and I lust for the Jet Black. So, I reserved a Rose Gold for pickup Friday, but also ordered a Jet Black full price. By the time I got around to that, delivery dates had shipped to November.

The underlying reason appears to be that iPhone Upgrade Program members were placed into a separate stream than regular pre-order customers, and forced to reserve a new iPhone from a local Apple retail store -- many of which were sold out. Some customers were not even able to access the reservation system at all, and instead received the following message just minutes after pre-orders began:

We're not taking any more reservations to upgrade your iPhone right now. Reservations will reopen at 8:00 a.m. on September 17. Please come back then to make a reservation.

Apple's iPhone Upgrade Program lets customers upgrade to a new iPhone after just six months, as long as they have made at least 12 payments towards their current smartphone and trade it in upon upgrading. The leasing program is financed through Citizens Bank in the United States.

Today's experience has left many iPhone Upgrade Program members frustrated, and questioning whether they will enroll in the program in the future. In the meantime, Apple's in-store pickup reservation system for regular customers resumes September 17 in the United States, and select other countries, or customers can attempt a walk-in purchase on a first come, first served basis.

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Top Rated Comments

macsrcool1234 Avatar
103 months ago
Someone said "most loyal". No, just no. Anyone who buys an iPhone is allowed one as much as the next person. First come, first serve. Get over it.
The problem is those people were not given an equal chance. In fact, they were given worse chance.
Score: 40 Votes (Like | Disagree)
SMIDG3T Avatar
103 months ago
Someone said "most loyal". No, just no. Anyone who buys an iPhone is allowed one as much as the next person. First come, first serve. Get over it.
Score: 34 Votes (Like | Disagree)
noah82 Avatar
103 months ago
Someone said "most loyal". No, just no. Anyone who buys an iPhone is allowed one as much as the next person. First come, first serve. Get over it.
You are missing the point. These users were "lining up" right with the others during preorder time. They were not allowed the same opportunity to purchase the phone.
Score: 27 Votes (Like | Disagree)
mikes63737 Avatar
103 months ago
Why can't the upgrade process be done fully online? Mail me the new phone, and take the first payment. Simply keep billing me for the old phone each month until it's returned in a pre-paid envelope sent to me with my upgrade.

Seems like this process definitely could have been streamlined.
Score: 21 Votes (Like | Disagree)
noah82 Avatar
103 months ago
Way to treat your most loyal customers apple. This was a most unmagnificent experience.
Score: 20 Votes (Like | Disagree)
kingofwale Avatar
103 months ago
100% of all iPhone lease members will want to get a new iPhone, Why not? they already paid for it.

so it's gonna be messy. Apple should've predicted this and start its production months before.
Score: 16 Votes (Like | Disagree)