Word on the streets says customer lines for new iPhones are all but non-existent at most Apple Store locations and I believe it. Out of curiosity, I took a quick visit to three Apple Stores here in New York and found little more than a fast-moving queue. What happened?
Instead of standing in line hoping to buy a new iPhone and perhaps being fully disappointed, Apple has changed the buying process to be more customer centric. We can blame Senior VP Angela Ahrendts for that.
I ordered an iPhone Xs Max when it became available and walked to the nearby Apple Store to pick it up. No waiting. Apple Watch Series 4 was the same way. The model I wanted was not in stock but I kept checking, found stock, bought with Apple Pay online, and walked down to the store after work to pick it up. No waiting.
- Apple fans love lining up outside Apple stores before a new iPhone comes out.
- This year, lines around the world were shorter than they’ve been in previous years for the new iPhone XS and iPhone XS Max.
- Apple has encouraged customers who want an iPhone on the first day it’s available to pre-order or schedule a pick-up.
While I miss the in line camaraderie from fellow iPhone users, I don’t miss standing in line. Those days are gone. Hey, New York City can be cold, hot, or wet this time of year.
Apple Stores around the world opened their doors on Friday for the first day selling the iPhone XR, and while Apple has offered something a little different than on previous launches — more colors and arguably the best bang for your buck from the iPhone in years — the queues were nowhere to be seen.
For the most part, no lines. That is by design. Apple wants customers to buy, but the need to sell 10-million iPhones over a weekend launch event is history. Do not long lines indicate demand? That may have been the case but today is a different era. Order online, walk in and pick up. Or, order online and have it delivered to your door. That’s what I did and I’m on the iPhone Upgrade Program. I ordered, the phone arrived, the old phone went back to Apple in a nice little FedEx box (tracking included). That is much easier than standing in line only to be disappointed that the model or color you want is not available.
It could be that queueing is becoming less necessary. Wait times for those who order the iPhone XR online in the US are three to five days rather than the weeks we’ve seen with some launches in the past.
Indeed. Apple still has the customers. But the customers don’t have the lines. How is that not a good thing for both Apple and customer?