Saturday, October 3, 2015

Apple's iPhone 6s Reservation Web Site FAIL

One of the reasons why I'm hesitant to upgrade my iPhone is that I often find so much of Apple's modern software design to be... lacking really understates it. Sometimes it seems like the design choices made are so bad that they actually damaging to the user experience (e.g. transparency). I've written about some of these terrible design elements in the past. With that being said, I had recently been convinced that I should go ahead and upgrade my phone. And that's what lead me to the "excitement" of the line and really highlighted the failure of the iPhone 6s reservation feature on Apple's site.

Here's the story. You can purchase an iPhone online using the web site reservation system. First, you need to select all of the aspects of the iPhone that you want: choose either 6s or 6s plus, choose your color, choose your storage, then choose your carrier. Then you're presented with a list of additional options like Apple Care and a case and a dock. These don't actually add to the displayed total and, selecting something like Apple Care actually pops open a wind with a 2-click agreement process, but it's all presented as though it's essential to choose it at that time.

Anyway, then you get to choose how you want to buy your phone: continue through the online store or reserve an iPhone for pick-up in a store. Cool, I want to reserve one for purchase at the store. This takes you to a page where you need to select your state, then select your store. If it just so happens that there's no inventory available for reservation at that store, the site kicks you out of the process and dumps you into this stupid loop. You must now choose another store in your state, reselect the model that you would like, then reselect your carrier choice. One you've done this, your presented with an array of available models by capacity and color.

But here's the part that fails. Instead of presenting only options with inventory, you're presented with the complete list. The system isn't intelligent enough to know if you're wasting your time. And so, if inventory is running out fast, if you don't land a good shot on your first shot, you're hosed. All they had to do was limit the options presented to sites with available inventory and... well, you get the idea.

But it's worse than that.

Every morning, the inventory refreshes at 8:00 am. I started this process several days ago and discovered aspects of the inventory / reservation site challenge. So I decided to attempt a start as soon as the inventory refreshed. The first day's attempt looked a lot like the previous evening's attempt. No inventory at any of the stores in the south bay. Yesterday, I actually got to a phone and selected it, only to be informed that I needed to log into Apple with my AppleID in order to complete the registration process. By the time me and OnePassword got through with unlocking my AppleID, the phone that I reserved was gone and the nearest phone was in Palo Alto at Stanford. Unfortunately, by the time that I selected an appointment time, that option was gone too.

As a consumer, I hate it when a store doesn't have the product that I'm looking for. I've left baskets of items that I collected at Safeway and walked out of the store when I discovered that they were out of a product that I was looking for. Part of that is, why should I put up with your crappy check-out line process if you don't have the product that I want.

In this case, Apple's online reservation system is so frustratingly bad that I'm considering skipping the iPhone 6s and not upgrading. When your purchase experience is so bad that it may outweigh the "awesome" new features of your product, that my friends is a FAIL.

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