Jun 16, 2010 12:25 PM by Melissa Canone
NEW YORK (AP) - Apple Inc. said Wednesday that it and its phone
company partners took orders for more than 600,000 iPhone 4s in one
day, the highest number it's ever seen, despite widespread problems
getting orders through overwhelmed computer systems.
The crush of orders sets the scene for long lines and potential
chaos at stores when the phone is released on June 24.
Apple and its partners started taking orders for the iPhone 4 on
Tuesday. On Wednesday morning, AT&T Inc., the exclusive carrier in
the U.S., had stopped taking orders, saying it had to focus on
fulfilling orders already received.
At midday Wednesday, Apple was accepting orders only for black
models, and would only guarantee shipment by July 2. The white
model was unavailable for pre-order.
Dallas-based AT&T said it received ten times as many pre-launch
orders on the first day for the new iPhone model as it did for the
previous model last year.
AT&T also said it logged more than 13 million visits to a Web
page where current customers can check if they're eligible for a
subsidized upgrade to the new phone. That number was three times
higher than the previous record for upgrade checks.
The price of the phone starts at $199. Customers who aren't
eligible for upgrades will pay $200 more.
Last year, Apple sold more than a million units of the new
model, the 3GS, in the first three days. It was the most successful
debut for a smart phone yet, and Apple struggled to keep it in
stock for months.
The iPhone 4 will feature a higher-resolution screen, longer
battery life, dual cameras and a thinner design than last year's
Tuesday's pre-ordering was marred by two major problems: Buyers
reported problems registering their orders and an apparent glitch
in AT&T's website was steering some customers into strangers'
Customers who tried to buy an iPhone 4 on Tuesday said they were
met with error messages on the company websites, and lines formed
in stores as clerks tried to get orders into their systems.
"Many customers were turned away or abandoned the process in
frustration. We apologize to everyone who encountered
difficulties," Apple said in a statement Wednesday.
On Gizmodo.com, a technology website, several readers posted
stories of trying to log into their AT&T accounts to upgrade to the
newest iPhone and being sent instead into strangers' accounts. That
could set the stage for identity theft scams such as ordering other
products under that person's name.
AT&T said it received reports of customers seeing the wrong
account information but wasn't able to replicate the problem and
was investigating. But the company said the personal information
users were seeing in one another's accounts didn't include Social
Security numbers, credit card information or detailed call logs.
Just last week, AT&T plugged an embarrassing security hole on
its website that exposed the e-mail addresses of people who had
bought another new Apple product, the iPad.
Apple shares rose $6.24, or 2.4 percent, to $265.93 in midday
trading. AT&T shares fell 4 cents, or 0.2 percent, to $25.50.