has imposed a new policy in its stores for purchasers of the iPhone: buyers must pay by credit or debit card, and buyers are limited to only two iPhones per buyer.
Apple claims that it has instituted the policy in its retail stores in order to ensure that there are enough iPhones available for the upcoming holidays and also to thwart potential iPhone resellers from buying in bulk and flooding the market with heavily discounted and/or carrier-nonspecific hacked iPhones. Apple has not indicated whether this policy also applies at AT&T retail stores. AT&T is the sole carrier in the U.S. for the iPhone.
It sounds as if Apple is more concerned about the potential market for unlocked/non-AT&T exclusive iPhones, since estimates this week indicate that about 250,000 buyers have purchased an iPhone with the intent of unlocking it for use with another carrier other than AT&T. Whether Apple will be strictly enforcing the two iPhones per buyer for the creative shopper remains to be seen.
If a shopper purchases two iPhones at the Apple Store, then drives a few miles to the nearest AT&T store and buys two more, then drives a few more miles to another AT&T store to purchase another two, is Apple really keeping a total of this person’s purchases from different retail sources? And does Apple really want to prevent potential retail buyers from buying iPhones for their entire family for the holidays if they are so inclined and want to give Apple their money?
We suspect the heart of the issue goes to the iPhone hacking/unlocking issue with AT&T as the exclusive carrier in the U.S. We’ll be watching and will let you know.
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