John Paczkowski

Recent Posts by John Paczkowski

UPDATE: AT&T Now Dropping iPhone Calls and iPhone 4 Pre-Orders

Apple began taking pre-orders for its new iPhone 4 this morning, though the process was far less seamless than the company had hoped. Availability was limited to the black model only and early morning order attempts were plagued by AT&T account-verification errors.

Early adopters hoping to pre-order the device ran into trouble at both the Apple (AAPL) and AT&T (T) Web sites, where the pre-order process failed between the “check eligibility” and “Please wait while we access your AT&T account information” stages. The situation was much the same at the companies’ brick-and-mortar stores, where clerks handling purchases ran into similar issues. Gizmodo reports that things grew so bad at one AT&T store, its staff began processing orders “on pen and paper.”

“They’re just using some Web interface, not the exact same customers are using online, but not much better. It’s probably the same servers. Basically, they were getting one pre-order thru every 20 minutes. They said the problem was system wide,” Gizmodo’s Kyle VanHemert reports.

“Here’s how it worked,” VanHermert explains, “They just kept mashing on the ‘submit’ button and getting error after error. On the umpteenth try, it’d go through and then the next step, whatever that was, would get error after error. After a long time, it would finally go through. What’s worse is that the first step of the process reups your 2 year contract, so you can’t walk away if you get fed up.”

It seems likely, then, that the problem here is with AT&T’s provisioning system, though obviously high demand is an issue as well. To wit, the outgoing message on Apple’s 800-MY-APPLE number.

“Thank you for calling Apple. Due to extremely high call volumes, we are unable to answer your call at this time. We apologize for the inconvenience. Please try your call again later. We appreciate your business and look forward to serving you in the future.”

In any event, today’s pre-order debacle isn’t going over well at all with iPhone owners already frustrated by AT&T’s service, as evidenced by this mock error message from Michael Aleo (click to enlarge):

Reached for comment on today’s pre-order pandemonium, AT&T declined to give one. Apple hasn’t responded to a similar request.

[Top image credit: Larry Legend]