Why Can’t I Buy an iPhone in New York City Online?

Take a walk if you want an iPhone in NYC

IPhone image from Flickr.

IPhone image from Flickr.

The Wall Street Journal has reported that online sales of iPhones in New York City have been halted. People who live in New York City can still purchase an iPhone from an AT&T store or an Apple store, but as of right now, you can’t place an online order for an iPhone in New York City.

Not surprisingly, the companies involved are keeping quiet about why you can’t order an iPhone in New York City. It is also not surprising that the companies are taking steps to slow sales in the most populated city in the country. Don’t worry, you can still get payday loans with a simple credit check online.

Theories about the iPhone in New York City

It’s no secret that there’s a limited supply of bandwidth out there, and sometimes it is impossible to be prepared for how the population will respond to new technology. The Wall Street Journal says:

Although AT&T has beefed up its network, complaints about dropped calls and Internet interruptions seemed to have increased.

This can’t be good news for AT&T, which has recently gotten into a public, heated rivalry with other networks, and the iPhone is battling it out with other smartphones.

Smartphone wars

Verizon recently marketed its Droid phones, which use the Google Android operating system, as a superior alternative to the iPhone. Furthermore, Verizon commercials have incorporated 3G coverage maps attempting to show that Verizon’s coverage area is better than AT&T’s. The message wasn’t lost on consumers, and it certainly wasn’t lost on AT&T, which fired back with ads that compare iPhone functions with Droid and other smartphone functions.

The AT&T ads emphasize the fact that users can use the Internet without interrupting a call and vice versa. I can’t say this feature, which they are using as their primary marketing stragegy, is the actual cause of the fact that you can’t order an iPhone in New York City. The companies involved could confirm or deny this suspicion, but don’t worry, they won’t.

How long are online sales suspended in NYC?

One AT&T customer service representative blamed the online sales suspension on the fact that there aren’t enough cell phone towers in New York City to support iPhones. Others have said it was because of excess fraud. But the official word from AT&T was “We periodically modify our promotion and distribution channels.”

There is no word on when people in New York City can order iPhones online again. For now, when someone uses a New York City ZIP code when trying to order an iPhone from the AT&T store online, the response is “There are no phones and devices that match your search criteria.” Though that bit about “modifying distribution channels” indicates that this could be a permanent change, I highly doubt it. However, if the true cause of suspending sales of iPhones in New York City is that the infrastructure to support them simply isn’t there yet, this could take a long time to fix.

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