Apple's highly anticipated iPhone 5 became available for pre-order at 12am PDT this morning (2am CDT for yours truly), with orders to arrive on the September 21 launch date. Within an hour, Apple had apparently run out of its allotted launch stock, and began quoting ship times of two to three weeks. While there were reports that carriers' servers couldn't keep up with the onslaught of early adopters hoping to have the first iPhone 5 on the block, they now appear to be the only sources still promising to ship for September 21.
Apple allowed customers to order a new iPhone 5 via its Apple Store app for iOS right on time. However, the app is only set up to allow existing iPhone users to upgrade to the new iPhone 5. If you wanted to switch carriers (and we heard quite a few people were switching from AT&T to Verizon, for various reasons), get a new line, transfer an existing number, or anything more complicated, you had to try to access Apple's online store or a carrier's website.
Verizon's pre-order system seemed to be the most responsive throughout the night, as we heard complaints that AT&T's website was straining under the load, and Sprint's was nigh unreachable for hours. Many users also claimed that Apple's online store could not connect to carriers' servers to verify existing customer information or approve device upgrades.