It Is Currently Impossible to Exchange Money for an iPhone

The iPhone 11 Pro is sold out in stores all over the country and Apple store workers don't know when they're getting more shipments.
Image: Alex Tai/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

When I walked into an Apple Store in Brooklyn yesterday and asked for a phone ("I want to buy a phone," I said), the guy working there told me he didn’t have any phones to sell me. He also had no idea when I would be able to pay a truly gut-wrenching sum of money for a telephone: They don’t tell us what’s in the shipments and I don’t know when more are coming,” he said.

If you want to buy a new iPhone, there are two basic options: You can either become beholden to Apple for the next two years of your life by paying monthly installments of between $30 and $60, or you can give the company a bunch of money up front.


Neither option is appealing, and both are best done on a whim and as quickly as possible so the dopamine hit of a new phone can dull the impact of transferring the richest company on Earth more than a thousand dollars.

I think that buying a new phone is a shameful but occasionally necessary activity to continue living in the modern world. I disagree with most of Apple’s corporate philosophies on recycling, repair, and its walled-garden, monopolistic approach to the App Store. I do not like spending time in Apple Stores, nor do I like giving the company money, but I appreciate Apple's commitment to privacy and security, and my current phone is more than three years old, has been repaired three times, and no longer takes photos or connects to WiFi. It is, unfortunately, Time for a New Phone.

The problem is that, at the moment, it is nearly impossible to exchange US currency for an iPhone 11 Pro. 256GB iPhone 11 Pros (the objectively correct phone to buy, if you are going to buy a new iPhone) don’t ship until the end of the month if you order one online, and they’re sold out in stores all over the country according to the company's website. They aren’t currently available in any stores in the greater New York, Denver, Los Angeles, Washington DC, San Francisco, Chicago, Miami, or Austin areas. I was able to find an Apple store in Gilbert, Arizona and a few in suburban Cleveland that have the phone, if you’re interested.

It is worth noting that you can buy the 64GB version of the iPhone 11 Pro at most stores, which is a version of the phone that shouldn't exist because that is not enough storage.

Apple hasn't released sales figures yet, but analysts are saying that demand for the iPhone 11 are extremely high, though it's impossible to say if the phones aren't available because it's hard to get a specific part or something else. But as the world’s richest company, Apple is one of the most pure expressions of a capitalistic enterprise out there. All I want to do is plug into the capitalism machine and do some capitalism and I CANNOT. Which is to say that it’s funny—not haha funny, but funny nonetheless—that Apple is doing a bad job of making it easy for people to give it money.