Apple bans walk-in purchases of the new iPhone 6s in New Hampshire, three other states

Chinese women try iPhone sets at a newly-opened Apple Store in Nanjing in east China's Jiangsu province.
Chinese women try iPhone sets at a newly-opened Apple Store in Nanjing in east China's Jiangsu province. –Chinatopix via AP

The new iPhone goes on sale this Friday at 8 a.m. But — depending on what state you live in — if you haven’t already made a reservation for one of the new phones, don’t bother waking up early.

In a footnote of an Apple press release Monday, the company stated it would not allow walk-in purchases in states without a sales tax.

That means you, New Hampshire, Delaware, Oregon, and Alaska (Montana also has no sales tax, but it also doesn’t have an Apple store). While the rest of the country can walk in (or rather, line up) as usual, people in those four states will need a pre-order reservation to purchase the new iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus.


However, Apple is not taking any more reservations for the new models until Saturday at 8 a.m., 24 hours after they go on sale. The walk-in purchase ban is also effective in China, Hong Kong, and Japan.

Apple did not say for how long the reservation requirement would be imposed. A spokesman for the company declined to comment for this article.

As The Oregoniannoted, the new rule represents a move by the company to address the changing character of the release day iPhone lines outside of Apple stores.

From the Portland-based newspaper:

Once populated by gadget hounds, the lines outside Apple stores on iPhone launch days in some locations are now filled with homeless people and the elderly.

Phone brokers buy unlocked iPhones, which aren’t tethered to a specific wireless carriers, and ship them to China and other destinations overseas where new models are in short supply or local taxes drive up the purchase price.

Because Apple limits the number of unlocked phones, the brokers – sometimes called “sharks’’ – recruit homeless people and the elderly to wait in line and buy phones on their behalf.

In 2014, the iPhone 6 was reportedly being resold in China for the equivalent of $2,441.

During the launch of the iPhone 5c in 2013, two Massachusetts residents were arrested and a man was beaten unconscious, as about 1,000 people waited during the early morning hours outside the Mall at Rockingham Park in Salem, New Hampshire.

However, there’s no clear evidence those incidents were related to any resale shark behavior.

So to those Massachusetts residents planning on driving up to a New Hampshire mall to buy a new sales-tax-free iPhone this weekend, better wait and make a reservation first.

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