Survey: Many AT&T stores have iPhone 'waiting lists'

Editor’s Note: This story is reprinted from Computerworld. For more Mac coverage, visit Computerworld’s Macintosh Knowledge Center.

Contrary to AT&T’s own sales policy, a majority of the company’s retail stores have unofficial waiting lists for Apple’s iPhone, a Web-based research firm said Wednesday.

According to Channel Checkers, 64 percent of the 36 AT&T phone stores it surveyed reported keeping a waiting list for the new cell phone, which Apple has promised will launch before the end of next month. The remaining 36 percent of the surveyed stores said they would sell the iPhone on a first-come, first-serve basis only, the policy AT&T laid down in a sales document which leaked to the Internet last week.

“It was apparent to us that stores reps were keeping their own waiting lists,” said Channel Checkers in a Web post. “As most are compensated on commission basis it makes sense that waiting lists would proliferate as the launch date closes in.”

The average number of names on each waiting list, added Channel Checkers, was 25, although some — notably one outlet in New York City — boasted over a thousand.

“Our take is that demand for the iPhone is probably going to surprise even Apple fanatics in the early days,” the group said. “We expect sell-outs and complaints about lack of availability.”

AT&T spokesman Mark Siegel response to Channel Checkers’ survey was brief. “We are not taking pre-orders for the device,” said Siegel.

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