Programming Note: This site will be on break through the holidays and return in January. Be sure to subscribe or check back for updates!

News: No iPhones in New York

by on December 27, 2009

Want to hear something funny? Apparently you cannot get an iPhone if you live in New York City. This is not due to some shipping error or shortage, but it seems AT&T is to blame.

A post on The Consumerist explains that you cannot order one off of AT&T’s web site, and had follow-up from the company. This was brought about by a reader who goes by Stephen in Brooklyn:

I was on the AT&T Wireless website trying to get an iPhone. However, when I put in my zip code 11231, the site says the iPhone is unavailable. This seemed a little odd so I started punching in other famous zip codes: 90210, 60609 (spiegel catalog), 02134 (zoom, an old children’s show).
For theses cities, LA, Chicago, Boston, iPhone is available. Then I looked up some other zip codes: Dallas, Miami, St. Louis, Philadelphia, San Francisco. All those cities are ok. Then I started putting in more NYC zip codes: midtown, Staten Island, the Bronx…no iPhone available.

The Consumerist’s Laura Northrup followed up on this with AT&T:

I went to the AT&T site to verify what Stephen said. Sure enough, the iPhone was available to zip codes in San Francisco and other major cities. It was not available to purchase for people living anywhere in New York City, or any of the suburban zip codes in Westchester County or northern New Jersey that I tried. Was it a web site bug? I hopped online with a customer service chat rep to check.

  • Daphne: Welcome to AT&T online Sales support. How may I assist you with placing your order today?
  • Laura: Hi, I was looking at the iPhone 3Gs and the system tells me that I cannot order one in my ZIP code. My zip code is 11231. (Brooklyn, NY) Is this true? Are iPhones no longer available in New York City?
  • Daphne: I am happy to be helping you today . Yes, this is correct the phone is not offered to you because New York is not ready for the iPhone.
  • Daphne: You don’t have enough towers to handle the phone.
  • Laura: Thank you for your help. So the phone is not available to people anywhere in the city?
  • Daphne: Yes this is correct Laura.

You may be asking yourself, how is this news? Well, with four Apple retail stores in New York City, and a few close by, there’s an argument that Apple products sell well in that part of the country. The holdup is not Apple, but the service provider that Apple is relying on to make the iPhone the iPhone. If anything, this little adventure may be the final straw in a bit of dissatisfaction with AT&T’s handling of the iPhone.

Some have suggested that it may be due to credit card fraud, but then why still sell other expensive smartphones? Also, why would the reps be giving answers that sound more like something that would hurt a company’s reputation? We’ll just have to wait and see what the official word ends up being as this plays out.

Update : It seems that the issue has been resolved, and AT&T has stated the cause: “We periodically modify our promotion and distribution channels.” That makes a lot of sense.

This post has been filed in News