Apple's iPhone and NYC -- no longer a match made in heaven: Apple and patner AT&T have reportedly suspended all online iPhone sales to the city. Possible explanations include that the ban is to fight fraud or, according to an AT&T service rep, that its due to the telecom's poor coverage in NYC.  (Source: Cult of Mac)
Customers are reporting that the iPhone is no longer available for NYC zip codes

Although there have been reports of high dropped call rates for the Apple iPhone, a spokesperson for the company has contacted DailyTech on multiple occasions insisting that these reports are patently false and its partners at Apple are wrong.  Unfortunately, to date, our contact at the company has been unable to provide any sort of information on their metrics on dropped call rates in the NYC or New York state to help us verify these claims.  That said, it seems relatively obvious that the nation's second largest carrier has struggled of late as it has cut its 2009 capital spending, limiting vital infrastructure upgrades.

Now Apple and partner AT&T may be resorting to a unique tactic to solve their NYC woes – at least to those that are looking to purchase the phones online.  Customers made the unpleasant discovery over the weekend.  Looking for a bit of iPhone Christmas cheer, they instead got a lump of coal in their stocking from AT&T.  Going online to purchase the phone, they discovered that when they typed their zip code --11231 -- in the order form, they received an error message saying the iPhone was unavailable.  Similar searches for zip codes in midtown, Staten Island, the Bronx returned the same error.  Next turning to famous zip codes in other cities -- like 90210 -- they quickly verified the ban appears to be for New York City only.

Calling AT&T's service line, The Consumerist chatted with a customer service rep named Daphne.  The rep reportedly commented, "I am happy to be helping you today . Yes, this is correct the phone is not offered to you because New York is not ready for the iPhone.  You don't have enough towers to handle the phone."

The reporter inquired, "Thank you for your help. So the phone is not available to people anywhere in the city?"

The AT&T service rep. responded, "Yes this is correct Laura."

AT&T released a cryptic public relations-speak statement that seems to confirm that the phone has been pulled indefinitely.  Writes AT&T spokesperson Fletcher Cook company in the statement, "We periodically modify our promotions and distribution channels."

Another possible explanation for the surprise blockade on iPhone sales to NYC is that it's a crude attempt by AT&T to block credit card fraud.  Some early reports indicated that AT&T was adopting the measure to try to counteract high fraud rates in the city.

Whatever the reason for the online sales ban, we predict there will be a rush on iPhones at the Apple store in NYC.  After all, the ban doesn't effect customers with existing iPhones -- it just prevents customers in the Big Apple from buying new ones online.

Updated 12/28/2009
Sales of the iPhone on NYC are now enabled again. AT&T still hasn't offered an explanation for the original shortage.

"And boy have we patented it!" -- Steve Jobs, Macworld 2007

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