AT&T delays retail sale of iPhone 4

Only customers who preordered the iPhone 4 will be able to pick them up from AT&T stores Thursday. Others looking to buy the phone at AT&T stores will have to wait until June 29.

Marguerite Reardon Former senior reporter
Marguerite Reardon started as a CNET News reporter in 2004, covering cellphone services, broadband, citywide Wi-Fi, the Net neutrality debate and the consolidation of the phone companies.
Marguerite Reardon
2 min read

iPhone 4 at WWDC
Black and white versions of the new iPhone 4 on display at WWDC. James Martin/CNET

Many customers who are longing for the iPhone 4 are going to have to wait a little longer.

On Tuesday, AT&T announced that only preordered iPhone 4s will be in stock in its retail stores on Thursday, the official iPhone 4 launch date. Anyone looking to buy an iPhone 4 off-the-rack at an AT&T store without preordering the device will have to wait until Tuesday, June 29.

"AT&T plans to have iPhone 4 inventory--available on a first-come, first-served basis while supplies last--on June 29 in its retail locations, at www.att.com, and in business sales channels," the company said in a statement. "As inventory sells out, AT&T will offer the convenient option of purchasing iPhone 4 and having it delivered to a home, business, or an AT&T store."

AT&T's preordering system crashed over and over on June 15, the day the iPhone 4 was made available for preorder. Potential customers attempting to buy the phone saw error messages as they tried to process their orders. AT&T said that its systems were overwhelmed by the number of people attempting to order the device ahead of the June 24 launch. By the end of the first day, Apple and AT&T had run through their initial round of preorder supply. The following day, Apple said that together with its partners, it had sold about 600,000 iPhones before AT&T suspended sales.

AT&T said that orders for the new phone were 10 times higher than the number of iPhone 3GS handsets preordered this time last year. Phones ordered online now will be delivered to customers starting July 14.

Customers who have preordered their iPhone 4 will get an e-mail letting them know their phone has shipped. People picking up devices in the store will get a call from an AT&T representative to let customers know their iPhone 4 is available for pickup.

Apple officials did not return calls for comment on this situation. But sales associates in Apple stores in New York City and San Francisco said that preordered and non-preordered phones should be available for purchase on Thursday.

CNET's Erica Ogg contributed to this report.