How long does it take AT&T to ship an iPhone? Nobody knows. Not even AT&T, as it turns out.
Since I am an early adopter without the patience to go standing in line at an Apple retail store, I decided to order my iPhone online when pre-orders started on September 12. Apple opens the online store at 3 am Eastern Time, but from past experience (yes, I am crazy and have done this before) I knew that all the maniacs like me try to hit the Apple store at once, the servers crumple.
This time, I decided to skip the frustration at set my alarm for 5am, after the initial crush but hopefully before long shipping delays started to kick in. Sadly, when I tried to log in, I got an error that the Apple Store was unavailable. Demand for the iPhone 6 was so intense that the servers were still completely overloaded.
Instead, I decided to pop over to the AT&T online store. I knew that supplies to the carriers are more constricted, but perhaps I was in early enough. The AT&T site was working smoothly, so I was hopeful. However, when I selected my iPhone 6 Plus, it listed as shipping in 2-3 weeks, not the 1 week that the phone would hit the stores.
After thinking it over for a minute, I concluded I could be a big boy and wait 2-3 weeks, so I went and ordered it. It took AT&T several hours to process, and then I finally got my order confirmation number. I logged in, and saw to my horror that the actual shipping time was expected by to be in November – 8 weeks away!
I was bummed. I felt misled. But okay, I know that supply for this is hard to manage. It was what it was. So I settled in for a long wait.
I checked my order each day, and to my surprise, two days later the shipping date jumped to late October. About six weeks. Better, at least.
I kept checking my order. A few more days, and the order window jumped to between October 04 and October 18. This would be 3-5 weeks from when I placed my order. Much better.
On Wednesday, September 24th, I checked my order status first as usual, and it still had the October 04 to October 18 window. No change.
Then, around 1pm in the afternoon, I suddenly received an email from FedEx. I was due to receive an overnight deliver package from AT&T on Thursday, September 25th. It was my iPhone!
Don’t get me wrong, I was thrilled. But how in the space of 5 hours did my phone jump from not shipping for a few weeks to being on the way?
In the end, it arrived 13 days after I placed the order, just under the original 2-3 week shipping prediction.
But based on their order tracking system, AT&T was just as surprised as I was.