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How Apple can fix its awful pre-ordering system

Michael Simon | Sept. 18, 2017
The Apple pre-ordering Friday hangover is real.


How to fix it

It doesn’t have to be this way. No matter how or when Apple releases its products it’s going to sell a boatload of them, so why not make it easier and friendlier for people. I propose the following changes:

1. Start preorders at 10 a.m. EDT.
OK, I’m a little biased on the east coast, but 10 a.m. seems like a nice compromise. It’s early but not too early on the west coast, 4 p.m. on Brussels, and 11 p.m in Japan.

2. Limit initial preorders to the iOS app
For whatever reason, Apple can’t seem to get its website and iOS apps in sync, and it only serves to frustrate and confound customers. So make it so you need an iOS device and the Apple Store app to preorder. Apple can open up sales on its website after six hours or maybe midnight the following day, but keeping the first crush of preorders iOS app-only will level the playing field a little more.

3. Scatter the times preorders go up
No less than four new products went up for preorder this morning—iPhone 8 and 8 Plus, Apple Watch Series 3, and Apple TV, not to mention the various color and band combinations—creating an extra level of pressure on the customer. If you wanted an iPhone 8 and an Apple Watch, you had to choose which one you wanted more, since the other one might be delayed by the time you finished ordering the first one. If there was a one- to two-hour delay between when iPhone and Apple Watch, buyers would have an equal shot at both.

Do I expect Apple to implement any of these changes? No. Will I do it all again on October 27 when iPhone X goes up? Yes.

But that doesn’t mean I have to like it.


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