Apple’s iPhone 4S pre-orders encounter some hiccups


Pre-orders for Apple’s new iPhone 4S (s aapl) got started very early Friday morning, but they didn’t go off without a hitch. AT&T(s t), in particular, seemed to have trouble getting its act together, resulting in some frustrated customers who were up very late. Apple itself also encountered delays.

AT&T was the only U.S. carrier partner who didn’t get their own website’s pre-orders off the ground at the originally planned time of 12:01 a.m. PDT (3:01 a.m. EDT). Apple was also behind schedule and its own pre-orders didn’t go live until around 12:45 a.m. PDT. AT&T’s pre-orders on its own site didn’t start going live until around 1:15 a.m. PDT for anyone, and even then the experience was inconsistent. Though each carrier had trouble with network issues, AT&T had by far the lion’s share of issues, as this jab by Verizon (s VZ) on Twitter obliquely points out:

Here’s a great quote by commenter John M from our original news post that sums up a lot of the reaction I saw from frustrated AT&T customers:

Does this also speak to their quality of service??? Guess I won’t know until I can take off the ATT contract handcuffs!!!

Those issues extended to Apple’s own website. Customers trying to purchase an AT&T iPhone 4S through at first encountered repeated errors, until finally Apple suspended pre-orders altogether at the U.S. site while they worked on resolving their issues.  Users instead were told their iPhone had been “reserved,” and they’d receive a follow-up email letting them know when they could complete their order. Those emails started going out around 4 a.m. PDT this morning.

Links included in the email lead customers back to the Apple Store to complete their orders, which is working fine this morning. As of this writing, the iPhone 4S is still listed to be delivered by Oct. 14 when ordered through the official Apple online store. We’ve confirmed that customers who have a reservation can still start the process as a brand new customer without following that link, and can still order a phone that way, too. Links to reserved orders from last night’s launch are valid until 5 p.m. PDT Saturday, however, so if stock levels change, customers who reserved a spot will still be able to jump the queue. Also, as of this writing, customers can’t access their account ordering information. Apple may be keeping this offline intentionally in order to avoid people taking down the servers with repeated refreshing of their order status.

While stock levels in the U.S. appear to remain strong at the moment, delivery times have quickly dropped  already in other international stores. In the U.K., Canada, Germany, France and Australian stores, for example, the iPhone 4S shows a shipping time of between one and two weeks. That, as well as the obvious network issues encountered by Apple during last night’s launch, point to strong interest in the smartphone. We’ll have to wait until we get some firm numbers about pre-order volume before we can tell how this launch stacks up to previous ones.

Additional reporting by Cyndy Aleo.


john d

just got my tracking number fromt sprint. ordered my phone
345am oct 7 iphone 4s 16 gb

Vineet Tyagi

I ordered at 9.20 AM BST today.But it took more than 40 mins to complete the order ,on think large no of users were accessing the site.In UK it online preorder started at 8.30 AM BST onwards.

Dower Chin

I just popped into my local AT&T Store and ordered it. No issue, but the ship time is currently 2-3 weeks though, so I’ll probably not get mine next week. But, I’m in no major rush.


It stands to reason that AT&T was busier due to the fact that they have the “lions share” of IPhone customers. There are considerably more customers going through the upgrade process through AT&T.


so being an at&t ‘premier’ customer had me waiting till about 2:30am pdt. finally got through the apple site only to be emailed that it was reserved, not pre-ordered. my patience was running thin so i went back to the at&t site and finally pre-ordered that way.

Lisa B

I ordered this morning thru Sprint, no problems either. However i did try to get it last night and there were tech problems on both Apple and Sprint website.


I ordered mine through Sprint because apple sent back an error TWICE on the payment section. Still pleased to be getting my iPhone 4S! ^_^


I was up for 2 hours and 40 minutes on trying to order my AT&T phone. Thankfully Apple kicked in the reservation system cause AT&T’s servers were freaking out.


Just pre-ordered mine in about 2 min. from att without any problems


I had an completed an order using the AT&T website (which worked for me when the Apple site wouldn’t) before 2am Mountain Time (1am Pacific).

Comments are closed.