Apple shops stopped from selling iPhone

The Apple iPhone: coming to a store near you. Unless it's an Apple Premium Reseller

When the iPhone goes on sale at 6.02pm on Friday, a key constituent of the Apple experience will be missing - and there's little you or anyone else can do about it.

For Apple has decided that only official Apple Retail Stores and branches of Carphone Warehouse and O2 shops can sell the iPhone.

This consciously leaves out the 24 or so Apple premium resellers - those local Apple specialist stores that can often be as good as the real thing.

Now while it's undoubtedly sad that these resellers will miss out on the sales bonanza the iPhone will bring; worse is what'll happen when you hit a problem with the iPhone and you try to ask a reseller for help.

No iPhone help

They'll nod, smile politely and then point you in the direction of your nearest Apple / O2 / Carphone Warehouse store, which may or may not be in the same town as the one you're currently in. Apple premium resellers aren't even allowed to service the iPhone.

Mark Hooper, MD of premium reseller Farpoint told

"It's a kick in the teeth for us - as a premium reseller that's invested a lot of money in Apple - not to sell key products for which we can give a great user experience. Because [the iPhone] is not just a phone. It does so much more than that.

"When people look on the back of the iPhone they'll go 'Apple' and where are they going to go? To us, not to Carphone Warehouse. And they're going to go away with a bad taste in their mouths [because we can't help them]."

Both Carphone Warehouse and O2 say they'll have specially trained staff in every store who can help with any iPhone questions or complaints. It remains to be seen whether they're able to provide the same level of customer service that Apple's premium resellers claim, however.