I’m an idiot. Seriously.
I got up at 3 AM EST to preorder the new iPhone 4s. My 3GS is long in the tooth and the new camera alone makes it a worthwhile upgrade. Plus at this point, I can get a reasonable amount for my 3GS on the market, so why not.
3AM: Apple Store down. Twitter is going nuts
3:45 AM: Store is now up. Great. I use the Apple Store iPhone app to preorder, and get all the way to checkout when the process freezes. The page essentially refreshed and nothing ever would go through. So I go downstairs to my wife’s iMac to try again.
4:30 AM: All attempts via the online Apple Store fail, as it times out when trying to verify my account with AT&T. As a final attempt, I go to att.com, and sure enough, it’s smooth sailing. Before hitting Submit, I give the Apple Store one last try, but no luck. I note that AT&T is not offering AppleCare+ as an option, but is offering their own warranty plan for $9.95.
4:45 AM: I go to the online Apple Store and there is no way to purchase AppleCare+ except when as part of the iPhone order process. I check online forums, and many others are in the same boat.
I get an e-mail confirmation from AT&T, and it makes it clear that no changes or cancellation are possible, as expected.
This morning, I call Apple to see what can be done. After about 90 minutes of going through various people (the first person, incidentally, wanted the phone’s serial number and order number. He didn’t get that I preordered via AT&T I suppose), First I was told I would have to cancel my AT&T preorder and reorder via Apple, just too get AppleCare+. The Apple Support rep, who was truly helpful, called AT&T himself, but the preorder stands. I would have to return it unopened to AT&T and get a refund and then order anew via Apple. Why?
What happened to Apple? It was never perfect. But details like this usually didn’t end up getting ignored. I get that the Apple Store crimped under a ton of traffic, although it’s not like Apple didn’t know it was going to have a massive load at 3 AM EST. Why not stagger it by time zone then? And if you’re going to offer the iPhone on multiple carriers and offer a new warranty product that is required to be purchased along with the covered device, why not make sure your carriers have it in their systems?
So yes, I’m an idiot.
UPDATE: I sent an e-mail to Tim Cook and also via Apple’s Feedback page. Got a response from an executive at Apple and we just spoke on the phone. They’re trying to work on a fix. We’ll see.