AT&T Suspends Online iPhone 4 Pre-orders

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AT&T has stopped accepting iPhone 4 pre-orders through its Web site as of Wednesday morning, and is now presenting customers with a dialog stating “Pre-orders for iPhone temporarily suspended.”

The temporary shutdown comes a day after iPhone 4 pre-sales kicked off to a rocky start. Customers hoping to pre-order the new iPhone for launch-day delivery on June 24 were hampered by stalled servers on Tuesday that prevented many people from completing their orders.

No iPhone pre-orders at AT&T

While AT&T may have stopped its online pre-order program, Apple is still accepting pre-orders. Apple, however, has changed the deliver date for new orders from June 24 to July 2.

iPhone 4 buyers dealt with frustration on Tuesday when the order process stalled out for what appeared to be AT&T server-related issues. Based on the number of people attempting to complete the pre-order process, it appeared that AT&T’s servers couldn’t keep up.

Apple introduced the iPhone 4 during Steve Jobs’s keynote presentation at the company’s World Wide Developer Conference on June 7 with the promise that the company would begin accepting pre-orders on the 15th for the June 24 release.

The new iPhone sports a redesigned form factor that’s almost 25 percent thinner than the iPhone 3GS, a higher resolution multi-touch display, a 5 megapixel camera capable of capturing 720p HD video, an LED flash, a front-facing camera for video calls, 802.11n Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, a built-in gyroscope and digital compass, Apple’s A4 processor, and more. The 16GB iPhone 4 is priced at US$199, and the 32GB model costs $299.

AT&T declined to comment on Tuesday when The Mac Observer asked if the company was experiencing iPhone 4 order-related server issues.

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End of ATT

Could this be the final nail in the coffin of the Apple and AT&T relationship?

Bosco (Brad Hutchings)

No, it’s not the nail in the coffin. AT&T has a contract and will hold Apple to the contract. But it will be fodder for the upcoming round of Droid X commercials from Verizon.

The thing that is missing in the story is that the system was pulling up and displaying data for the wrong customers, data that included credit card numbers.

Pashtun Wally

It could well be so.

It’s usually forgotten (or ignored) now that Apple had to find a carrier who would agree to what they wanted:  a carrier that would take the phone as designed and branded, leaving the platform itself under Apple’s control.  Verizon balked at both of these, partly because it was a risky adaptation of the cellular business model & partly because brand and control is as much in VZW;s DNA as in Apple’s.

For whatever actual reasons (no, *not* asking for a list), ATT agreed to the experiment, and I’m sure they demanded concessions.  I suspect one such concession was that ATT could bail it the plan flopped, and ATT could enforce the exclusive if it flew.

It flew, of course, and no-one can understand why Apple won’t/can’t “just break that contract.  Given the total cash cow the iPhone has become, I imagine they would not waive a single early-exit penalty…and I imagine that would be very public, very ugly, & *very* expensive.

HOWEVER, Apple’s best shot would be a non-performance clause that allowed them to break off without penalty in the event that ATT screws the pooch.  If the rumour that ATT updated their internal software this past weekend, iP4 Day would give them no chance to truly shake it down - and thereby courted disaster.

Hell, in such a circumstance they could well SUE ATT for material breach & win release from the contract.

Pashtun Wally

@“Bosco” - you only think that’s ‘missing from the story’ because that’s all you want to talk about.  You probably agree with the “security breach” meme, and there’s a certain secondary truth there, I suppose, but the primary truth is that ATT’s data got munged.  That sure will mess things up, but it’s not some kind of ‘exploit’ - it’s just the worst sort of crash.

I have heard rumours through this that ATT “updated their software” over the weekend;  if this is true, then the “update” is almost certainly the proximal cause of the meltdown *and* the data exposure…and doing it SO close to iP4 renders ATT entirely liable.  If true.

Bosco (Brad Hutchings)

Right, like I only thought the score was important last night because I was rooting for the Lakers.

And yes, there are some message board postings purportedly by AT&T engineers who did upgrades this weekend that screwed up lots of stuff in the ordering system. Obviously, Gizmodo’s fault.

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