Apple, AT&T struggle to handle iPhone 4 pre-order demand

Technical glitches caused AT&T Mobility (NYSE:T) and Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) to struggle to handle the preorder rush for the iPhone 4. Despite the chaos, both Apple and AT&T sold out of the preordered iPhone 4 devices for launch day, June 24.

The trouble started early Tuesday morning when customers tried to register for the new smartphone on the websites of Apple and AT&T. Many were met with error messages, although the cause of the errors remains unclear.  

Additionally, some customers reported that when they tried to register an iPhone 4 on AT&T's site, they found themselves in the accounts of other customers.  AT&T acknowledged that it had received reports of such occurrences and is investigating the issue. "We have been unable to replicate the issue, but the information displayed did not include call-detail records, Social Security numbers or credit card information," AT&T spokesman Mark Siegel told the New York Times.

As of Wednesday morning, AT&T had temporarily suspended iPhone 4 preorders, but Apple's website appeared to be working.

The snafu, which caused people to go into physical stores to try and reserve their iPhone 4's, is the latest batch of bad news for Apple and AT&T. Last week, a security group, which AT&T deemed "hackers," exposed a security flaw in AT&T's website and revealed the email addresses of more than 114,000 Apple iPad 3G customers.

Despite all of the glitches, AT&T said it sold out of its stock of preorders for the iPhone 4, and said it was the busiest online sales day in AT&T's history. "As of Tuesday afternoon, customers who preorder iPhone 4 moving forward will receive their device on June 25 or later, depending on when the order is placed," AT&T said in a statement. "We'll email customers with confirmation once their order is placed, and again when it ships. In addition, we will have devices available on a first-come, first-serve basis in our stores beginning on June 24."

Apple, meanwhile, had pushed back the ship date of iPhone 4's ordered online to July 2 from June 24.

For more:
- see this Reuters article
- see this NYT article
- see this Engadget post
- see this Fortune blog post
- see this All Things D post
- see this Silicon Alley Insider post
- see this Silicon Alley Insider post
- see this NYT blog post

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