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iPhone 4 sells out, Apple apologises after 600,000 pre-orders crash site

Apple has sold more than half a million Apple iPhone 4 handsets before it even hits shops -- and is eating humble Apple pie

Apple has sold more than half a million Apple iPhone 4 handsets before it even hits shops. More than 600,000 early adopters will get the phone direct from Apple on 24 June, the worldwide release date, in a round of frenzied pre-ordering that's seen Apple apologise for problems with its Web site.

Anyone ordering now will have to wait an extra week until 2 July. It's not the first time Apple has recently struggled to meet demand, with the iPad facing assorted delays, but it's certainly not going to harm Apple's premium brand perception.

Apple told our sister site that ZDNet that it's the "largest number of pre-orders Apple has ever taken in a single day". Jobs' mob went on to apologise for the resulting technical gremlins, acknowledging that "many customers were turned away or abandoned the process in frustration. We apologise to everyone who encountered difficulties".

Tesco Mobile has now joined Vodafone, O2, Orange, and T-Mobile in offering the iPhone. As yet, the networks are only collecting email addresses to keep prospective customers posted on iPhone 4 availability.

All of the pre-ordered iPhones are black, SIM-free handsets with no network contract -- the white version is not yet on sale. In the UK the iPhone 4 costs £500 for the 16GB model and £600 for the 32GB version -- a quick scribble on the back of an envelope reveals that Apple made at least £300 million quid in a single day.