Apple, AT&T Struggle with iPhone 4 Preorders

apple iphone 4

If industry watchers thought that the Apple faithful weren’t going to be very excited over Apple’s forthcoming iPhone 4…they seem to have been wrong. Both Apple and AT&T have been unable to handle fulfilling iPhone 4 pre-orders on the very day pre-orders became available: Apple’s online store is now telling customers orders won’t be filled until July 2 (instead of June 24), and the white version of the iPhone 4 isn’t available for pre-order at all. AT&T has been forced to “temporarily suspend” orders for the iPhone 4, with no word on when it might resume pre-orders.

According to Apple, over 600,000 iPhone 4s were pre-ordered on the first day of availability; Business Insider reports that AT&T says that level of pre-orders is ten times higher than those for Apple’s iPhone 3GS last year.

“It was the largest number of pre-orders Apple has ever taken in a single day and was far higher than we anticipated, resulting in many order and approval system malfunctions,” Apple said in a statement. ” Many customers were turned away or abandoned the process in frustration. We apologize to everyone who encountered difficulties, and hope that they will try again or visit an Apple or carrier store once the iPhone 4 is in stock.”

Early yesterday when pre-orders first opened, both Apple’s and AT&T’s online stores seemed overwhelmed with traffic, both returning errors and timing out connections.Several iPhone users have reported being able to place iPhone 4 orders for in-store pickup…using their existing iPhone and Apple’s new Apple Store App.

The meltdown appears to be centered on AT&T systems that verify customer information.

Apple is partnering with Best Buy, Walmart, and Radio Shack, all of which are supposed to have iPhone 4 units on launch day. However, at least Radio Shack has already noted it has stopped accepting reservations for iPhone 4 purchases due to demand.

The iPhone 4 will cost $199 for the 16 GB model, and $299 for a 32 GB model, with a two-year service contract. The device includes a high-resolution “retina display” that’s supposed to be beyond the detail limits of the human eye at typical distance, a front-facing video camera and WiFi-based video chat capability, a longer battery life, Apple’s new iOS 4 operating system, and a 24 percent thinner profile than its predecessor.

[Updated with Apple PR statement.]

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