Find an iPhone 7 Plus at an Apple Store without having to wait for the back ordered shipping times.
My story begins with being first in line for every Apple iPhone launch since day one. Well, the last two years I broke that trend with pre-ordering my phone online and being lucky enough to get my order placed right as either the Apple Store or the Verizon website went live. Needless to say, this year I was prepped and ready to go. I had two Mac’s sitting side-by-side refreshing both Verizon and Apple.com. Verizon’s website opened up first but to my dismay, it wasn’t like last year. It was set-up differently and I was looking for the option to buy my iPhone 7 Plus outright instead of through payment installments. This year, Verizon decided to make the ordering process a bit different than it was last year so, in my confusion, Robyn kept trying to get Apple.com to load. When I finally realized that the option not to renew your account but to buy the iPhone outright was available further along in the ordering process Verizon pre-order deliveries had been pushed back to late October. When Apple’s website came up for me the stock was showing shipping late October as well.
When Apple’s website came up for me the stock was showing shipping late October as well. I thought to myself, I could easily be the first in line at my local Verizon store as I had been for many other iPhone launches. This was what I decided to do. I got my gear together to have music, power, chair, food, and drinks – heck even a portable projector that runs off batteries for watching videos throughout the night. Unfortunately, the day before launch day I spoke with a rep from the store who I have worked with many times in the past. He slipped me some info that Verizon employees aren’t typically supposed to tell customers. He told me his store did not get any iPhone 7 Plus models in – at all. He said the only one that showed up was the 32GB model and it was their display unit. Thank goodness he told me this because any other store rep would have allowed me to sit outside the store all night in hopes I would just buy something else.
So I was without the iPhone on launch day for the first time ever. If I did not run a tech review business this would not have been a big deal and I would have just waited until the next version of the phone came out. The iPhone 6s Plus is an amazing phone and with Apple Care Plus I had plenty of life left with it. But, because I need the phone for MacSources, well, that and because I wanted it, I kept looking at iStocknow.com, a website that shows you the stock of iPhone 7 and 7 Plus at every Apple Store. I would stalk this website daily and check it multiple times per day. My search was for an iPhone 7 Plus in black with 128GB of storage. For weeks now, I have waited to see one pop up within a decent radius from where I live (the closest Apple Store is 2 hours away from where I live). I even asked people I knew who either lived in or were traveling to major cities to check the Apple Stores near them for me. At one point, one phone showed up in Utah where Rebecca lives and even though she was willing to make the trip to the store and ship it to me, Apple has a policy that only the person who buys it can pick it up. The closest Apple Retail Store to where I live is 2 hours away. It’s a trip I’ve made many times and was willing to drive there for the phone, but there weren’t any showing up.
So, this brings us to the part of the story where I tell you how I got one.
It’s important to emphasize here that I was buying the phone at full price. That is the only way this will actually work in your favor because otherwise, you have to activate the phone through the carrier and the phone is technically considered unlocked unless you pay full retail price for it. BUT, if you are like me and prefer to own your phone instead of renting it, this is a viable option. If you are on a CDMA network phone (Verizon and Sprint), you can purchase either carrier version phone and insert your wireless provider’s SIM card. I had only been searching for a Verizon iPhone, but because Sprint and Verizon are both CDMA networks, they both come unlocked. Each time I would pull up the website to view iPhone stock, I would see Sprint iPhones, but in my mass hysteria, I never put two and two together that I could just buy the phone at full price from Apple and activate it using my Verizon SIM card from my iPhone 6s Plus and the Sprint iPhone was now a magical iPhone 7 Plus for Verizon.
I made the 2-hour trip to the Apple Store and purchased the iPhone 7 Plus in Black with 128GB of storage for Sprint. I inserted my Verizon SIM card from my 6s Plus and within a few minutes, the phone was pulling up Verizon carrier settings and all was right with the world. The moral of this story is that Apple’s website is still backed up with the 3-4 week shipping time and carriers still aren’t getting the 7 Plus because pre-orders have to be fulfilled first. So, if you are looking for a CDMA network phone, look for Sprint and Verizon. The same goes for GSM network phones (T-Mobile and AT&T). You will widen your search base and have a better time finding the phone you are looking for. The trick is that you have to pick up the phone in-store because if you have it shipped to you, you will have to link the phone to your wireless account and the system won’t let you do it. Look for the color and storage size you need because if you’re buying the phone at full price, they will come as ‘unlocked’ phones. Note: If you are looking to use a carrier discount, this option will not work for you.
My journey to the Apple Store occurred on Wednesday, October 12. On Thursday, October 13, Apple added a new ordering option to their website for the iPhone – Buy without a Carrier: SIM-Free Activate with any carrier later. This would have saved some heartache for me had this option been available from the beginning, but this option is also still showing a 3-4 week shipping time. That being said, this would be a viable solution to those who already have a compatible SIM card for the iPhone 7/7 Plus.
I hope my long drawn out story helps one of you who might be looking for a specific iPhone linked to a carrier. Happy hunting!