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Keen on buying an iPhone 12: Here's how Apple will sell it to you



The frenetic times when people lined up for hours (if not days) at Apple Stores to nab the latest iPhones seems like a lifetime ago. Heck, everything seems like a lifetime ago in the midst of a pandemic.


Such scenes are unlikely to be repeated Friday when the iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro, Apple’s first models with 5G, go on sale.


Even so, most Apple Stores around the world will be open, with some accepting walk-in customers. If crowds of eager buyers queue up, store employees will manage the line and arrange specific times when customers can return, spreading out the slots for safety reasons.

Since protocols and services will vary from one Apple retail location to another it’s best to consult apple.com/retail to see what’s available from your local store.


If you’re keen on purchasing one of the new phones, here’s else what you need to know:


Carrier offers: AT&T, T-Mobile and Verizon all have special promotional offers around the iPhone 12 and 12 Pro, with steep upgrade discounts and even free phones in some cases for people who switch carriers. You’ll want to check in with the carriers for their respective deals and plans, and to read the fine print. Apple plans to honor national carrier offers in its own stores.


Shop with a specialist: You can book a one-on-one session with a specialist at an Apple Store for help in choosing a product, a data plan and financing. You can have a conversation (by appointment) in the store, online via chat, or over the phone.


Pickup options: You can pick up a phone you ordered inside some stores, curbside at others, or arrange same day delivery. Apple will give you a time come get your device.

Apple has also been experimenting with “express storefronts” at some locations. 9To5 Mac compared the somewhat shielded express storefront experience to a bank teller window. Services are limited but you’ll be able to pick up your phone, and also arrange a Genius Bar appointment.


Contactless delivery: Apple will no longer require a physical signature when the phone you ordered online is delivered. Delivery drivers will instead seek verbal confirmation from a safe distance.


Apple Card installments: People who use Apple’s own (Goldman Sachs-issued) Apple Card to purchase iPhones from Apple Stores get 3% cashback. Apple is waiving interest charges for people who pay the tab off monthly.


Setup help: Apple is offering free personal online sessions to help buyers set up the devices and pick up a pro tip or two. When you buy the iPhone, you’ll get an online invitation to arrange a time to hold this session.


Trade in: Apple is offering up to a $500 trade-in credit on your existing phone, though that sum is reserved for last year’s iPhone 11 Pro Max. You’ll only get up to $140 in credit if the phone you’re trading is, for example, an iPhone 8, and even less for older models. You can also trade in phones from Samsung or Google. You may find more generous trade-ins elsewhere. As always the condition of the handset you’re turning in factors into how much of a credit you’ll receive.


Email: edbaig@gmail.com; Follow @edbaig on Twitter