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Apple: 600,000 iPhone 4 preorders on first day

Tuesday saw the highest number of preorders in one day ever for an Apple device. It's also not clear when the iPhone 4 will be in stock.

iPhone 4
James Martin/CNET

We now know why the Apple and AT&T preorder system for the iPhone was paralyzed on Tuesday. Apple says the one-day preorder volume was the highest it's ever taken.

Together with its carrier partners, Apple took preorders for 600,000 iPhone 4 handsets on Tuesday. The sheer number of orders overwhelmed the online ordering system causing it to crash repeatedly throughout the day.

On Wednesday Apple explained and apologized.

"It was the largest number of pre-orders Apple has ever taken in a single day and was far higher than we anticipated, resulting in many order and approval system malfunctions," the company said in a statement. "Many customers were turned away or abandoned the process in frustration. We apologize to everyone who encountered difficulties, and hope that they will try again or visit an Apple or carrier store once the iPhone 4 is in stock."

When the device will be in stock isn't clear. As of Wednesday morning, showed the first availability of new preorders would not arrive until July 14, weeks after June 24, the device's first official sale date.

AT&T said Wednesday it has suspended taking any more preorders for the device.

This post was updated at 11:05 a.m. PDT with the current expected ship date for preordered iPhone 4.