Were you able to order an iPhone 4 today? If you're out there, we want to hear from you. From our vantage point, it's been a disaster. Maybe the iPhone 4 is cursed; first we have the Gizmodo iPhone 4 left in a bar fiasco that turned ugly with journalist house raids and opinions for and against Apple. then we have network failures at WWDC for the iPhone 4 announcement and demo so Steve Jobs had a hard time showing off the most cool features of this inherently online device.
And now? AT&T's system buckled and they resorted to pen and paper orders. Despite that, they were already sold out on the afternoon of the first day one could pre-order this mythic phone. And there are rumors of security issues with AT&T's online system too-- Gizmodo claims that readers have sent in tips that they logged into their account only to see someone else's account data.
Apple's system has been a shambles since 5:30am, and it seems impossible to get an order to go through on Apple's website. We've been trying all day using computer web browsers and Apple's new Apple Store app on the iPhone. Absolutely no luck.
How about calling Apple's 800 sales number? Nope, all day long it's a prerecorded message stating that due to unprecedented call volume they can't handle your order, so please call back.
Ah-ha, why not just go to an Apple store (if there's one close enough). Nope, the store reps told us they're at the mercy of the same order system that's failing us on apple.com and they can't take orders.
That leaves Best Buy and Radio Shack. If you weren't there in the morning, you're out of luck too. The Best Buy stores in our area already have loonnngg pre-order lists (at least they don't have to use Apple and AT&T's system) since AT&T and Apple can't handle the orders. So you likely won't get one on launch day. Radio Shack? The ones in our area faced the same pre-order flock and most said they only expected 8 to 10 phone on the 24th.
Given the silky smooth order and fulfillment process for the iPhone 3GS, this mess comes as a shock. Is it the simultaneous international pre-orders that gummed up the works? It is AT&T moving up upgrade eligibility so there's uprecedented demand?
It's 9pm EST here in the US and both Apple's web site and phone ordering line are still down for the count. How about you, were you lucky enough to get an order through today?
Update early the next morning: Apple too has sold out of pre-orders and their site states that you won't get an iPhone 4 until July 2. Time to wait in extremely long lines at your local Apple or AT&T store on launch day if you really want one ASAP and didn't win the pre-order lottery. Apple has yet to release a statement as to what went wrong with their order system and inventory projections.
-------------------- Lisa Gade Editor in Chief, MobileTechReview