Let me get this out of the way: I live on the East Coast, and I like to sleep.
There, I said it. I, like millions of Americans on the East Coast, happen to like the idea of sleeping—even on a workday and especially on a Friday. With that in mind—and with hope of not sounding like I’m complaining—that I have to ask why Apple has opened up pre-orders for its latest hardware at 3 a.m. ET. for the last several years.
Earlier this week, Apple unveiled the new iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus. The smartphones, which come with screen sizes of 4.7 inches and 5.5 inches, respectively, offer some design upgrades compared to their predecessor the iPhone 6s, better cameras, and much more power. To top things off, Apple has decided to eliminate the headphone jack, leaving users with two options to listen to audio: use Bluetooth headphones or plug in the Lightning port adapter that comes with the iPhone 7 and will allow wired headphones to connect to the smartphone.
Despite that shortcoming, I, like many around the U.S., decided to upgrade to the iPhone 7. But when I woke at 6:30 a.m. ET on Friday morning, I quickly found that, just three-and-a-half hours after Apple’s iPhone 7 pre-orders went on sale, the Jet Black version’s shipment date was pushed out to November. Other models, like the Black iPhone that I pre-ordered, wouldn’t ship to my home until early October. Additional other models wouldn’t ship for a couple of weeks. Since then, pre-order shipment dates have slipped to even later.
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The iPhone 7 is scheduled to hit brick-and-mortar store shelves on September 16.
running out of its initial pre-order supply is nothing new. Over the last several years, consumers worldwide have fallen victim to waiting too long to pre-order new Apple hardware, leaving them with two options: wait a few more weeks until it reaches their homes or stand in line on launch day in hopes of getting one at an Apple store, third-party retailer, or carrier.
But let’s be honest: it’s easier to fall victim to Apple’s pre-order supply constraints if you’re living on the East Coast.
Yes, midnight on a Friday isn’t exactly early, and there are many that don’t have the opportunity (or desire) to stay up that late to pre-order an iPhone. But staying up an extra hour or two while binge-watching a show on Netflix
to pre-order an iPhone isn’t as difficult for those in California as it might be for those in New York. Those folks in New York need to either binge-watch until 3 a.m. or set their alarms to wake up groggy to get a new iPhone.
I’m by no means trying to start a coastal war of words here, but isn’t it time that we acknowledge that Apple should offer pre-orders at a time when it’s convenient for everyone, regardless of where they live?
Admittedly, there might be good reasons for Apple, which did not immediately respond to Fortune’s request for comment, to offer pre-orders late at night. For one, the company might not want its systems to get overloaded by people around the globe trying to order their new iPhones at noon on the east coast and 9 a.m. on the west coast. Offering pre-orders in the middle of the night likely reduces the strain on Apple’s servers and gives it a chance to catch its breath before the bigger wave comes when East Coasters wake up.
But I’m still not sure that’s a good enough reason. Apple has stubbornly stuck to a 12 a.m. PT/3 a.m. ET pre-order time. And for those of us who don’t like the idea of setting an alarm for 3 a.m. ET to buy a smartphone, it’s just not working.
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So, I guess I’ll just wait for my iPhone 7 and hope my iPhone 6 can hobble across the finish line when its successor reaches my doorstep in early October.
Meanwhile, if you were early and pre-ordered your iPhone 7 within the first hour or so it was available, enjoy it on September 16.
I’ll be sleeping.