SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Though Apple stores will be carrying the iPhone 4 this Thursday, you'll have to wait until next week if you want to buy it from its official U.S. wireless carrier, AT&T Inc.
AT&T said Tuesday that it will start selling the iPhone 4 on June 29 through its stores and website to anyone who wants to buy one but was not able to order on June 15 — the first day that Apple and its partners took orders for the gadget. AT&T stopped taking orders the next day because of overwhelming demand.
AT&T spokesman Fletcher Cook said that because the number of early orders for the new iPhone were so high, the company "made it our priority to fulfill these orders first."
Apple and its partner companies started taking iPhone 4 orders on June 15, and the next day Apple said they received more than 600,000 orders in 24 hours — the highest number Apple has ever seen.
The companies, including AT&T Inc., the exclusive carrier in the U.S., stopped taking orders, and AT&T said at the time that it had to focus on fulfilling orders already received.
Customers trying to order through AT&T encountered two major issues: Buyers reported problems registering their orders, and an apparent glitch in AT&T's website was steering some customers into strangers' accounts. Lines formed in stores as clerks tried to get orders into their systems.
Dallas-based AT&T said it received 10 times as many pre-launch orders on the first day for the new iPhone model as it did for the previous model last year.
The price of the phone, which includes a sharper screen and longer battery life than previous models along with a video chat feature, starts at $199. Customers who aren't eligible for upgrades will pay $200 more.
The crush of orders sets the scene for long lines and potential chaos at stores when the iPhone 4 starts selling on Thursday. Judging by previous years, shortages could last through the summer.
Consumers can currently pre-order the iPhone through Apple's website, though only the black one is available and the site indicates it will ship by July 14. The white model is currently unavailable for order.
AT&T said it plans to deliver iPhones this week to customers who were able to order the device on June 15. The company also said that it is e-mailing customers who ordered the phone to alert them when their iPhone has been shipped to them, and store employees will call customers who ordered phones for delivery to its retail stores when their iPhones come in.