Likely you watched with a mix of horror and admiration as Apple’s iPhone 4 pre-order kicked off yesterday, nearly bringing down the Internet thanks to the ravenous hunger of the Cupertino faithful. Well, despite the fact that many couldn’t even force Apple or AT&T to take their money far in advance of the device’s actual release date until much, much later in the day, the iPhone 4 initial pre-order allotment has already sold out.
That means that if you order now, your expected delivery date won’t be the June 24 launch date, but July 2 instead. And that’s a ships by, not a delivers by date. Radio Shack tweeted that they ran out of its initial supply only 90 minutes after it started taking pre-orders. AT&T has temporarily suspended pre-orders for the iPhone 4 at its site, which may have to do with demand, or with claims that AT&T customers were seeing other people’s credit card information upon pre-ordering.
Compare that to last year, when it took nearly five days for AT&T to burn through its pre-order stock, and Apple was still guaranteeing launch day delivery a full week after pre-ordering opened. Plus, the iPhone 3GS launched in more countries initially than the iPhone 4 did.
International launch is the next big question mark hanging above this record-setting sell out. We already saw Apple push back international dates for the iPad following that device’s early pre-order success, and that was nothing compared to the speed with which the iPhone 4 sold out. I have a sinking feeling that the loose “July” date for launch here in Canada might get pushed back to “late Summer.” At least when it does get here, it’ll be sold factory unlocked.
The iPhone 4’s launch success will obviously stand as a stark refutation of those who’ve been claiming that iPhone will die in the face of the Android onslaught. AT&T reported to TechCrunch that it received 10 times the pre-order volume for the iPhone 4 than it did for the iPhone 3GS. Presumably that isn’t only return customers, though it would make sense that a lot of the 3G owner crowd that skipped the 3GS would be coming back again now that their contracts are nearly up.
Apple said it was planning on moving three million units per month of the iPhone 4. Does that mean it’s already sold that many worldwide since launch? No, it most definitely does not. Apple has just announced that it took 600,000 pre-orders yesterday, though, which is a very impressive number on its own and promises a very successful launch indeed, since that doesn’t include units being sold in physical retail locations.