Phil Schiller announces the iPhone 5 pre-order date at Apple’s media event Wednesday. Photo: John Bradley/Wired
Eager iPhone 5 fans across the globe set their alarm clocks Thursday night to be among the first to pre-order the new handset right at 12:01 a.m. PST. But some online destinations for the iPhone weren’t quite ready to handle the onslaught of purchasers, who quickly drained Apple’s pre-order supplies.
Within an hour of the first orders, iPhone 5 shipping dates on Apple’s online store slipped from Sept. 21 to up to 2-3 weeks. Just after midnight California time, a number of iPhone pre-orderers on Twitter began complaining that the Apple web store was unavailable. Others were able to access it on Chrome, but, curiously, not Safari. Many (myself included) ended up turning to the App Store iOS app to complete their pre-order while the web store was down.
With the notable exception of Verizon, carrier sites also had issues. Sprint’s site wasn’t fully functional until around 1:30 AM PST, while AT&T’s didn’t recover until close to 2:00 AM. Between Verizon’s more fully developed 4G LTE network and AT&T’s tech issues, it seems that a lot of iPhone users decided to switch networks last night.
But as of 8 AM PST, AT&T, Verizon and Sprint were still showing September 21 delivery dates for the new iPhone.
As anticipated, the iPhone 5 looks like it will be a blockbuster for Apple. Last year, the iPhone 4S took about 22 hours to sell out, with Apple selling more than one million of them in the first day of pre-orders. In 2010, the iPhone 4 took about 24 hours to sell out, with 600,000 units purchased its first day.
Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster expects Apple will sell between 6 and 10 million units this quarter, which ends September 28.