AT&T Suspends IPhone 4 Preorders After Selling Out
Apple Inc. said it logged more than 600,000 early orders for the iPhone 4 yesterday, a record, imposing a strain on computer systems and prompting carrier AT&T Inc. to suspend sales of the device before its June 24 debut.
The number of preorders was the largest Apple has taken in a single day, exceeding its expectations. AT&T and Apple started accepting orders for the phone yesterday, with AT&T selling out all the devices it had allocated for early ordering.
The surge in demand signals Apple Chief Executive Officer Steve Jobs added enough features, such as video calling and a sharper screen, to make the new iPhone alluring even as rival phones using Google Inc.’s Android software gain ground. The iPhone has become Apple’s top-selling product, accounting for 40 percent of revenue last quarter.
“We’re continuing to see an acceleration of the number of phones that is sold at each launch,” said Colin Gillis, a New York-based analyst for BGC Partners LP. He recommends buying Apple shares and said he doesn’t own any. “We have lots of room to run in terms of how many of these things can be sold.”
Apple has sold more than 50 million iPhones after introducing the device in 2007. The previous version, the iPhone 3GS, sold more than 1 million units in its opening weekend after hitting store shelves in June 2009.
AT&T, the exclusive U.S. carrier for the iPhone, said yesterday was the busiest online sales day in its history. The carrier will withhold orders for the phone indefinitely, depending on how soon it can replenish inventory. Apple said many customers abandoned efforts to preorder the device after growing frustrated with the process.
At Apple stores in San Francisco and New York yesterday, staff recommended customers try ordering the device from Apple’s website later in the day or today. Some calls to Apple’s customer-service line weren’t getting through because of high volume.
The iPhone 4 comes to market as Cupertino, California-based Apple faces mounting competition from Google, whose Android mobile-operating software runs handsets from HTC Corp. and Motorola Inc.
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