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Apple to Require iPhone 5 Activation Before It Leaves Any Store [Update]

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.

Founder and Editor-in-Chief of iPhoneinCanada.ca. Follow me on Twitter, and @iPhoneinCanada, and on Google+.

  • Ayo

    It’s about time really. Too many people make money from re-selling the iPhone. Of course, if they’re going to do this, they better expand their iPhone availability quickly to meet the demand.

  • Setak

    Stupid move by Apple. If I wanna buy an unlocked iPhone 5 as a Christmas gift, it won’t be possible to buy it in store then, since I have to open the box to activate the phone. So online is the only way these days to buy an unlocked iPhone ?

  • gerry

    Instead of limiting the purchase of two per customer, just make it one. How hard is that. With this being said, what if we purchase the phone online (apple store) and obtaining a nano sim card? Do we have to bring our unlocked phone to the carrier’s store and have them activate there?

  • TJaG

    How does this work for online purchases?

  • gerry

    By the looks of it so far, yes. But they may change their policy after the launch calms down a bit since the phone will be in demand. It’s hard to say what Apple will do. It leaves me wondering if I have to wait, to get a nano sim card for my unlocked phone.

  • Carl

    Yes, online is the only option.

  • TJaG

    Just imagine the server crashes that will happen on launch day now that every single phone that leaves the store has to be activated with itunes!

  • cheeky

    stfu scalper

  • Hammer

    Who cares if someone makes money selling an iPhone. Its not the seller putting it in demand, its the person willing to buy it !

  • swotam

    Nano SIM’s will be available at Apple Stores for customers who ordered online at no charge based on what I’ve been told.

  • swotam

    The NanoSIM can be obtained from an Apple Store. You usually activate the SIM online or over the phone with your carrier. No need to go to the carrier store.

  • swotam

    Online purchases are unlocked, no in-store activation is necessary.

  • swotam

    The phones can be activated from the phone as of iOS5, no need to connect to iTunes anymore.

  • swotam

    I think the concern is mostly for people who buy them and ship them overseas for resale in markets where it hasn’t launched yet. With LTE bands being so region specific, this could cause hassles for people who buy a Canadian iPhone overseas and find that they can’t use it on their local LTE network.

    Also, hundreds of scalpers across the country buying multiple phones each day results in hundreds, if not thousands, of legitimate Canadian customers being unable to get a device early on as a result of the stores running out of stock. Been there, seen that.

  • swotam

    Order online, it’ll be delivered in 2-3 weeks and by the time we get close to Christmas they should have availability down to a few days at most since the initial surge will be over by then.

  • gerry

    It’s good to know. If that’s the case, I’ll be heading down there 35 min drive to get one.

  • gerry

    Oops wrong column

  • alamarco

    I wonder how this will work. I ordered it at Rogers, but I don’t plan on using my iPhone 5 until I get my ZAGG invisibleSHIELD in. So now I’m going to have to activate it on a new SIM then get them to reactivate my old SIM? That’s going to be a pain in the ass if that’s the case.

  • Kevin

    Why would anyone pay the full unsubsizded price for a carrier locked phone?

  • http://www.iphoneincanada.ca Gary

    They ‘want’ the iPhone 5 and don’t want to renew their monthly plan. So they buy it unsubsidized.

  • swotam

    Once you activate your new SIM you can’t reactivate your old one (AFAIK). You can always buy a case for it and return it for a refund within 15 days because you don’t like something about it. These things happen….

  • Kevin

    But to pay full price and still have it carrier locked seems pointless. Then you have to pay the carrier $50 to unlock your phone you paid full price for already.

  • http://www.iphoneincanada.ca Gary

    Yep. I guess impatient people with money is a dangerous combination ;)

  • Smith

    Yes, there is demand to buy it…. FROM APPLE. Not from scalpers. As long as the scalpers keep jerking the system, they make it hard for legitimate customers to get a device after a launch.

  • Magrat22

    Anyone order online last year and then go to the Apple Store to get a sim? I’m just wondering if they will have a separate line for people not buying the iPhone.

  • http://twitter.com/dustinandrew dustinandrew

    Bell&Virgin won’t even do that, which is BS!

  • http://www.iphoneincanada.ca Gary

    The store should be operating as usual, just walk in and ask for one.

  • Magrat22

    Thanks Gary :)

  • o_clement

    Doesn’t change the fact that the servers’ load will be much higher than last year…

  • swotam

    Only if the number of people activating carrier locked phones is higher. Since there won’t be anyone buying unlocked phones it shouldn’t be much worse than previous years. In any case, iPhone activation won’t be the main delay, it will be the Apple staff processing the activations with the carriers.

  • swotam

    @chronic should be able to help you with that “soon”

  • swotam

    Ya, can’t see any logical reason to do this unless you can’t get an unlocked phone for some reason.

  • o_clement

    Not sure I understand; Unlocked or not, if it has to be activated it has to connect to the carrier’s servers no? On top of Apple’s servers as well.

    When I bought my i4, I spent more than an hour, probably two, with the Apple Rep for him to just try to active two devices; 1 on fido, the other on Telus. In the end I got tired and decided to take both unsubsidized, factory unlocked, because they didn’t have to be activated at the time, so I got out with 2 “non working” iphones, that I activated later on

  • booboo31

    im not gonna lie im totally one of those people…i buy 4-6 online with different visas and resell them for $100-$200 more than i bought them for. impatient people want their iphones!

  • alamarco

    I’m not a fan of cases. Dust gets inside and scratches the phone.

    If they can’t activate my old SIM they’ll have to give me another one to activate. I’m not walking out of that store without my iPhone 4 working.

  • swotam

    The big delay when getting a carrier subsidized or locked phone is the submission of the order with the carrier itself and the activation of your new SIM card. Their systems crash or are terribly slow, and this impacts the ability of the Apple rep to complete the process. While it is also necessary to “activate” the iPhone itself, this process is done from the phone once the carrier activated SIM is installed, and usually takes less than a minute.

    Last year when I got my 4S on launch day, the FIdo systems were brutally slow and it took a long time for them to process my contract renewal. Once that was done and I had the phone, the process to actually activate the iPhone took about 30 seconds.

    There will be delays, there are always delays, but I suspect the bulk of them will be on the carrier side and not on the iTunes side. I haven’t heard of Apple having activation issues with iTunes since the 3G launch IIRC.

  • o_clement

    Got it, thanks for the explanation; I didn’t think the process was two-fold. For me, activation meant that it had to communicate with both the carriers and Apple

  • http://www.iphoneincanada.ca/ Ex

    You get to use your phone right away instead of waiting for shipment

  • http://www.iphoneincanada.ca/ Ex

    Very logical. See above comment

  • http://www.iphoneincanada.ca/ Ex

    Correct. They will not unlock

  • DARK HOUSE

    lol apple apple apple the countrol every single thing on that phone everything from activating it to whats apps you use and what you cant use and see what you are doing and where you are like really do you really wanna see any one countrol everything you do i cant do with out apple waching and restrecting you like i could not take it when you buy a phone and they tell you you cant do something i say if you buy a phone the phone sould be your and can do what the fuck you want thats why i want to andriod where google or samsung dont give a flying fuck what you do with on contract or not on contract its your jail break it dont jailbreak it even throw it down 80 steps darg it with your car see apple fans only see its apple and goes fast look good but really apple fans see only thats and dont get the big picture even if samsung made the same phone lets say and apple made the same phone shape and everytihng one ios one andriod all the apple fan would be runing to apple and say yes best phone ever made but for a fact when you pay for a phone no one sould ever tell you what you can and cant do with it its your and can be jailbroken in the store in front of them if you want or even burning huge flam up a flag poll so dont you think its right what am saying????????????????????????????
    and explane why yes or no

  • swotam

    I don’t consider that a logical reason, personally anyway :-) You give up a lot more than you gain.

  • swotam

    Alrighty then, thanks for playing. Two things:

    1. Wall of Text crits for 1,000,000 : You Die
    2. Grammar is not your friend, neither is punctuation, or spelling

  • Magrat22

    Ever heard of a a full stop? Paragraphs? Taking a breath? Seriously if you are going to construct an argument on why the iPhone isn’t the one for you, make it a least legible.

  • http://www.iphoneincanada.ca Gary

    Ouch!

  • http://www.facebook.com/brian.holder1 Brian Holder

    The phone won’t be locked. When you purchase an unlocked phone, switch between service providers without penalty. Also, you can use it across the world without paying for roaming charges to a Canadian carrier. E.g if you spend a month in England, simply buy a sim card in England and use it in your phone. Way cheaper than paying Rogers or Bell. If you don’t plan to travel and are happy with your local carrier, get a phone locked to you’re provider.

  • Kevin

    Apple is only selling carrier locked units in store, even if you pay the unsubsidizedprice, it will be sim locked to whichever provider. You would then have to pay the carrier another $50 to uncripple the phone you paid full price for, so you could install other provider’s sim cards.

  • bigbea

    i think also they don’t sell unlocked ones is because the malls and businesses are complaining the line too huge.. it’s annoying and blocking people.. of course they wanna sell ppl from flipping too… but surprise apple site haven’t said anything about this yet.. or have they..

  • bigbea

    i agree.. i can see the server crashing as well.. it was bad last time and there weren’t that many activation. maybe 1-2 out of 10 ppl activate in the lineup. u might be waiting for 3-4 hrs…

  • m

    well… from past experience. Innocent people wait in line, having fun, waiting to get an iPhone. then fast forward 4 hours later, you seem to have 200 mainland Chinese people budge and everyone in the back is now left without an iPhone because they bought 2 to sell in the aftermarket in china. it seriously pissed people off and fights were starting. Im glad unlocked phones are not available for pickup to tackle this issue.

    Ps im chinese too so im not being racist.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Shameer-Mulji/1685212657 Shameer Mulji

    As the article states, this is to deter scalpers / resellers and gives a chance to those who really want to buy one have a greater chance at getting one.

  • xywix

    You’re a wise man to remove yourself from the equation, it’s annoying but that’s why you gotta wake up early or go to a small town like I will (Waterloo!!)

  • VancityBatman

    Thanks for asking this question. I was thinking the same.

  • LondonFish

    I agree 100% that some “usual suspects” do ruin the fun for other normal users, they not only do that at Apple Stores but also LV in Paris. Some of them even lack basic manners of line up, which gives a bad name to the people of the same race but from other counties like myself.

  • LondonFish

    I guess doing that online is better than in person….