Apple Restricts iPhone 7 Reservations to Upgrade Program Members
Apple recently updated the confirmation email it sends to customers who reserve an iPhone 7 or iPhone 7 Plus to clarify that in-store reservations are now limited to iPhone Upgrade Program members in the United States.
Apple allows upgraders to reserve an iPhone through its iPhone Upgrade Program reservation system for pick up in store, but many customers were able to bypass the program and pay in full or with carrier financing instead upon arriving at their local Apple retail store.
Can I change to a different form of payment for the iPhone Upgrade Program?
Yes. You can also upgrade your iPhone to carrier financing or purchase it at full price. Ask a Specialist for more information.
Can I change from the iPhone Upgrade Program to a different form of payment?
Yes. You must be currently enrolled in the iPhone Upgrade Program, so that you can upgrade your iPhone to carrier financing, or purchase at full price. Ask a Specialist for more information.
MacRumors reader DSTOFEL was one of many customers previously able to reserve an iPhone 7 or iPhone 7 Plus online and pay for it outright at an Apple Store without enrolling in the iPhone Upgrade Program:
I did this last Sunday and it went off without a hitch! I used the iPhone Upgrade Program reservation link to reserve my iPhone 7 at my local Apple Store. I was not a member of the iPhone Upgrade Program at the time and had no plan to join it. I showed up at the store, they had my phone and I just told them I wanted to purchase at full price. Not a problem!
But since the change in wording, it appears that Apple has already turned away some non-upgraders attempting to purchase an iPhone through the Upgrade Program reservation system without signing up for the program.
MacRumors reader vsp attempted to purchase an iPhone 7 for full price last night, for example, but an Apple retail employee allegedly would not let him:
I just tried this earlier today and wasn't able to purchase one I reserved with a different carrier. According to the clerk, they received notice yesterday that some of the iPhones were reserved for people enrolled in the Upgrade Program and they couldn't sell to me outright.
While many other MacRumors and Reddit users have faced the same situation since yesterday or so, some customers have still managed to reserve an iPhone and pay in full or with carrier financing. For that reason, your mileage may vary, and non-upgraders are recommended to call their local Apple retail store and request to speak with a manager before placing a reservation.
For its part, Apple's reservation page has always noted that a 24-month installment loan through Citizens Bank, which finances the iPhone Upgrade Program, is required -- this change just cements it. In other countries where the iPhone Upgrade Program does not exist, such as Canada, all customers are able to use Reserve and Pick Up regardless of their payment method of choice.