iPhone 7 pre-order did not go off without a hitch last night for many fans of the device. System-wide delays on Verizon, Sprint, and T-Mobile made it difficult for orders to be placed.

It’s now 3:00 a.m. CDT where I am located and we’ve just spent the last hour trying to pre-order the iPhone 7 through Verizon and Apple. It’s been a true nightmare. We were on the phone with a friend who was pre-ordering through AT&T and apparently promptly at 2:01 (12:01 PT), but like thousands of others, we were delayed by Verizon and Apple’s websites not updating on time. In fact, it was nearly 2:15 a.m. when both sites finally refreshed and we were allowed to attempt placing our pre-order.

iPhone 7 Pre-Order WoesWe started with the more limited phone – the iPhone 7 Plus 128GB in Jet Black. We knew this would be like the elusive Gold finish a couple years ago, but we tried anyway. Unfortunately, due to the delay and the poor navigation on Verizon.com, by the time we got to where we were supposed to be, that model was delayed by 2-3 weeks. It was the same on Apple’s website because as you may or may not be aware when Apple produces the phones for the carriers, Verizon and Apple are pulling from the same pool of phone stock. The same is true for the other carriers as well. The point is that whether you order from the carrier or Apple, the delay will more than likely be the same.

So, we spent about 30-40 minutes battling between the two sites to try and place the order. And of course, the longer we were delayed, the longer the shipment was delayed, too. By the time we actually got through to place an order, the iPhone 7 Plus 128GB in Jet Black wasn’t going to be delivered until October 12 – nearly an entire month after the phones will hit the stores. For some people, this may not be a problem. But, when you review products for a living, getting the latest and greatest products when they are released is very important. So, after much deliberation, we decided to forego ordering the iPhone 7 Plus because of the delay. We did, however, place an order for the iPhone 7 32GB in Black. That model will be delivered on September 16.

When the announcement happened, we knew that the Jet Black version of the iPhone would be hard to get no matter which model you went with. And in my opinion, it’s ludicrous that the retailers – especially Apple – can’t get their act together and launch the pre-order on time and without complications. Online ordering is not a new concept. So, why is it, year after year, that one carrier or another fumbles the pre-order?

On top of the mounting frustrations from the pre-order delays, I would also like to point out how confusing Verizon’s website is. I don’t regularly look through their website (I usually look at my account on the mobile app), but if their site is always that confusing, they should consider a redesign.

iPhone 7 Pre-Order Woes

When we first visited the site, we found an image of the iPhone 7 and links below it that said “Pre-Order” and indicated the two sizes of the phone. When you click on it, you are taken to a window that asks you if you are an existing customer or a new customer. NOTE: if you are new customer, the process from her is much easier. You are taken directly to the device ordering page. If you are an existing customer, though, you have a maze of additional pages to move through before you actually get to the device selection.

iPhone 7 Pre-Order Woes

One of the pages has your account information along with any devices you already have on the account. On this page, it’s difficult to see where you should click to move on. The only box you can check rests just next to the word “UPGRADE”. This is monumentally confusing because if you want to buy the phone at full retail price and not upgrade, this selection is very misleading. As it turns out, when you select the checkbox and click continue, you are taken to a new page that gives you the iPhone 7 or 7 Plus with its various model options. On this page, you do have the option to select the monthly price, upgrade price, or full retail buyout price.

Now here’s where it gets tricky.

Once you are on this page, you can select the hard drive capacity and color of the iPhone model you want along with the pricing option. Let’s say that you want to choose your color based on the delivery date. So, you select your payment method and hard drive size, but then click on each of the colors available to see the estimated delivery date. When you do this – bounce around from color to color – Verizon’s website resets the other two selections. At one point in the process, when we were about to place an order, we realized that we were about to order the iPhone 7 Plus 32GB model in Gold with the monthly payment option. That is NOT what we wanted to do but were almost sucked into it since Verizon’s site reset values when you made a change.

iPhone 7 Pre-Order Woes

Also of note if you are ordering directly through Verizon, they try to stick you with additional fees. We were mere seconds away from clicking on the ‘pre-order’ button on Verizon’s page for the iPhone 7 and we noticed that the price was a bit off of what we had estimated. Looking closer at the final page of the order, there was an option for Cloud/Media Storage that had been automatically selected for an additional $2.99 per month. Tricky…very tricky Verizon. The Verizon Cloud 5GB option is available at no additional charge, but the website would reset values any time you made a change and select the 25GB cloud storage for $2.99/month. This definitely made us pause and double check our order once again before proceeding.

Upon looking at our order we also noticed that Verizon does not offer an option for adding Apple Care under the initial Protection & Features tab of your order. They offer “Decline Protection” or “Total Mobile Protection”, which adds an $11/month fee to your bill. Just to be clear, you have Apple Care service on your phone for one year, but if you buy the Apple Care protection plan that extends your Apple warranty for another year. Here is the information directly from Apple’s website.

iPhone 7 Pre-Order Woes

AppleCare+ for iPhone
Every iPhone comes with one year of hardware repair coverage through its limited warranty and up to 90 days of complimentary support. AppleCare+ for iPhone extends your coverage to two years from the original purchase date of your iPhone(1) and adds up to two incidents of accidental damage coverage, each subject to a service fee of $29 for screen damage, or $99 for any other damage, plus applicable tax.(2) In addition, you’ll get 24/7 priority access to Apple experts via chat or phone through getsupport.apple.com.

Now what’s important to note here is that you can actually purchase Apple Care for your iPhone within 60 days of your iPhone purchase. It is best to do it the day it arrives at your house so that there is no chance of there being damage before you apply the extended warranty to your phone. I do recommend Apple Care+ for the iPhone because it’s the best possible option to have your phone serviced by an Apple professional. I do want to also note here (without getting on a soapbox) that should you have issues with your iPhone, please take it to an Apple Authorized Service Provider and not a fly by night repair person. If someone that is not authorized by Apple touches your phone, you will void your warranty.

Eventually, we got so fed up with Verizon’s ordering process that we moved back over to Apple.com and placed the order for the iPhone 7 there. Apple really has a very nice ordering process. It’s clear and concise. The only thing that got a bit tedious was towards the end where you literally click “OK” five times before the order is actually placed. Aside from their site being down for 20 minutes at the beginning of the process, Apple was a better ordering experience than Verizon.

iPhone 7 Pre-Order Woes

If you were met with similar circumstances and decided to wait it out for the elusive Jet Black iPhone 7 or iPhone 7 Plus, you do still have the option to wait in line at a carrier store or Apple retail store. I will warn you, though unless you are one of the first 5 people in line, you will still have a risk of not getting the phone you want because they will be in short supply. Taking a quick look at Apple’s website (as of 9:40 a.m. CDT) it looks as though users who want the Jet Black version of the iPhone 7 Plus will not be able to get it until sometime in November – that’s for any carrier. If you want Jet Black in the iPhone 7 model, you are in some luck as they are shipping out in 3-4 weeks right now.  The other colors seem to be available with minimal delays.

Despite the issues we experienced, we are still looking forward to getting our hands on the new hardware. Expect to see a review and unboxing of the iPhone 7 next week as it is anticipated to be delivered on time.

We hope that you were able to pre-order the phone you wanted last night and that you don’t have too long of a delay. We would love to hear about your pre-order experience. Please leave comments below to let us know if you had problems or were able to sail right through the process.

For more information and pre-order availability, visit apple.com/iphone-7.