It's that time of year again when throngs of people line up, sometimes days in advance, for the latest and greatest version of the Apple iPhone.
Thursday is the official release date for the iPhone 4. And from the looks of things, this year could be the biggest of all iPhone launches.
AT&T says that demand for the iPhone 4 is 10 times what it was for the iPhone 3GS. And Apple says it took 600,000 preorders for the new phone through its sales channels.
If history is any indication of what to expect, initial sales of the iPhone 4 are likely be a doozy. Apple sold more than 1 million iPhone 3GS smartphones the first three days it was on sale. The original iPhone sold about 270,000 units during its first weekend in June 2007, while the iPhone 3G sold around 1 million when it launched in July 2008.
Apple CEO Steve Jobs called the iPhone 4, which is the fourth generation of iPhone, the "biggest leap since the original iPhone" was launched in 2007. With a new homegrown processor like the one used in the iPad, a bigger battery, a 5-megapixel camera that can record video in high definition, and a new FaceTime video chat application, the iPhone 4 is expected to be a hotter device than all previous iPhones.
Unfortunately, for customers waiting to get their hands on the new phone, there are already signs that supply may not keep up with demand. On Tuesday, AT&T announced that only preordered iPhone 4s will be in stock in its retail stores Thursday. Anyone looking to buy an iPhone 4 at an AT&T store without having preordered the device will have to wait until June 29.
AT&T's preordering system also crashed over and over on June 15, the day the iPhone 4 was made available for preorder. Potential customers attempting to buy the phone saw error messages as they tried to process their orders.
So what is an expectant iPhone 4 user to do? Check out this FAQ to get a better handle on what will be happening on launch day. For updated information from AT&T, the company suggests checking out its Facebook page.
What happens if I preordered my device? First of all, lucky you. If you were able to successfully preorder an iPhone 4 via Apple or AT&T then you should check your e-mail confirmation to find out when you can expect it to arrive. Depending on what you chose, the device will either be waiting for you at the store you picked, or it will be shipped directly to your house. AT&T said they are on track to deliver preordered devices. They are sending e-mails when the devices have shipped and for customers picking up their devices at the store, local store reps will be calling to let you know when it's available for pickup.
Will I have to wait in the same long line as everyone who didn't preorder a phone? No, if you've placed a preorder to be picked up in store, there will be a separate line for you to stand in--you won't have to wait behind people who haven't reserved one ahead of time.… Read more