It looks like this time around, Apple has new plans for the way it is distributing the iPhone 5. We earlier learned factory unlocked iPhones will no longer be available for purchase on launch day at Apple retail stores. Now, the Globe and Mail is reporting Apple is tightening how authorized resellers distribute the new iPhone:
People close to some of the Canadian carriers that are planning to sell the new device said Friday that Apple will not allow those firms to sell it in their stores without also activating the device.
In effect, that means users will have a harder time reselling the phones or shipping them to other countries where the iPhone may not have launched yet, or may not normally be available. As such, the move gives Apple more control over how and where its devices are sold.
According to a source, Apple had not required immediate activation as a prerequisite for sales for any of the previous iPhone models.
Essentially, when you walk into any carrier or dealer to buy the iPhone 5, you won’t be able to leave with your phone until it is activated. An ‘activation’ in Apple’s definition means getting to the Home screen.
Anytime an iPhone is activated on either Rogers, Telus or Bell, Apple is automatically paid a fee by the carriers, with the latter also receiving part of usage fees from monthly plans. According to the Globe and Mail, sources close to the ‘Big 3’ carriers confirmed off the record this new rule would apply for the iPhone 5.
It appears these new changes target scalpers and resellers; Apple is tightening its leash on iPhone sales.
Update: Our reliable source mentions you can leave Apple Stores with a sealed carrier locked and activated iPhone 5. Also, fully unsubsidized and carrier locked iPhone 5 units will be available for purchase.