iRate (or “Apple doesn’t want my money”)

I’m wondering if someone can tell me how I might be able to buy an iPhone in Australia? Seems Apple doesn’t want to sell me one. Telstra are playing extortionist, and Optus are plain out of stock.

Note to Apple Australia: I have $850 to give to you in exchange for the 16GB black iPhone you’re advertising everywhere. If you’d like to collect, feel free to let me know…

The long version

Apple still don’t sell phones outright – only on 24 month plans with Optus and Vodafone. Their advice, roughly, is call Optus, find out where they have stock, then go and get one from whatever store happens to have one on that day. Yeh… whatever. Perhaps Apple should pull down their advertising until they can actually sell the device to interested customers?!

Telstra still have some 16GB stock, but little wonder why – they won’t sell an iPhone outright (despite their claims to the contrary) – certainly not to my interpretation of “outright”. You have to a) be an existing Telstra customer (prepaid is ok, as long as you only want an 8GB unit) and b) have to then (reportedly) pay $150 to unlock the phone to work on other networks.

Optus are clear out of stock. And the city store is no longer taking orders – the exasperated sales staffer informed me that they’d taken 4 calls for very irate customers still waiting for their phones, 3 of which apparently canceling their accounts.

In another city store I asked about the prepaid and they simply responded “we don’t know” – they’ve sent a list of interested people but have no word on when they will receive stock, let alone be able to sell it outright. I’m now on that list that’s seemingly being ignored.

I have to admit, I’m used to Apple not having stock when launching a product. But I have never seen a balls-up like this. I’m sure that Optus aren’t all that impressed with Apple’s supply issues – I wonder if they’ve ever been out of stock of a new Nokia or Sony Ericcson handset? And whoever agreed to the contract terms that limits Apple’s ability to sell the iPhone outright needs to be fired – what a stupid, stupid thing to do.

This is the second attempt to buy an iPhone in the past 3 weeks without success. If Apple thinks this is “creating desire” for the device through scarcity, they are sorely mistaken. It’s just pissing people off – their partners, their customers (existing and potential).

Anyways, I am kinda serious about my initial question. If anyone has some real advice (unlike the kind I got at the Apple store) on how I can pick up a 16GB black iPhone, I’m all ears…

P.S. The reason for my renewed interest is the announcement that Virgin are entering the fray with reasonable data-plans, and 3 have announced their options for those of us that have been able to buy a phone outright (even though they can’t sell the phone, yet), which are even better.

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