September 14, 2012
iPhone 5 Preorders Swamp Apple Site, Sell Out In An Hour
Michael Harper for redOrbit.com — Your Universe Online
These iPhone things appear to be a hit. Like, a sell-out-of-preorder-stock-in-one-hour hit. Not bad for a disappointing phone with only modest improvements, no NFC and a Samsung-chasing 4-inch screen.
As one might expect, this sort of torrential downpour of customers hitting a site can be a telling test of any server, resulting in some tricky behaviors, error messages or long pauses where the site only says it´s “processing.”
So, as eager Apple fans rushed to Apple.com at 12:01 PST (7:01 AM GMT) to place their preorders, Apple´s initial stock available for these red-eyed early adopters began to disappear - quickly.
A Macrumors.com piece from late last night reads: “Just an hour after pre-orders for the iPhone 5 went live, Apple Store shipping estimates for new pre-orders have already slipped to two weeks in the US, UK, Canada, Germany, and Australia.” The time stamp on that post, by the way? 1:07AM PST.
There were many who expected Apple to sell out of iPhone 5s at some point during the opening weekend hoopla. However, selling out of pre-order stock within 2 hours is nothing short of mind-blowing. Last year´s iPhone 4S was the most successful iPhone launch to date, setting records for Apple and the carriers. Apple quickly sold out of iPhone 4S pre-order stock, too. It took 22 hours to deplete this early inventory.
Eager iPhone-ers who want the latest and greatest now have only one hope for getting their iPhone 5 on launch day: Waiting in line at the Apple store or other retailers and throwing up a few prayers to the glowing orb in the sky.
Apple and their carriers are still taking pre-orders, of course, but the shipping time has slipped to 2 weeks from Apple.com. According to Macrumors, anyone placing preorders today likely won´t see their new phones until 2 weeks after the September 21st launch date, sometime around October 5th.
According to another Macrumors post, American carriers might be faring better than Apple.com, as readers are saying that while there is a bit of a delay when ordering through Verizon, Big Red is promising a delivery date of September 26th.
At the time of this writing, both AT&T and Sprint are holding on to their September 21 ship date claims, meaning anyone who still plans to preorder should check their carriers first.
Walmart is also offering pre-orders for the first time this year. Beginning at 8AM this morning, Walmart shoppers could check off a new iPhone 5 from their shopping list. The big box store will also be selling the new iPhone with a meager discount of $9.
Walmart shoppers who wish to preorder their iPhone 5 there will first have to hand over $25 deposit to buy a reservation card. Additionally, 9to5Mac is reporting that Walmart employees have been told to inform customers that they cannot guarantee a September 21st shipment of new iPhones. While the early birds who preordered last night had their share of trouble, so, too have customers who visited Walmart early this morning to get a jump on things. Several 9to5Mac readers have claimed the Walmart employees had no idea they were selling preorders and didn´t know how to handle the process.
The iPhone pre-order game is one for the brave, one for the strong and one for the fearless who don´t mind losing sleep. In recent years, both Apple.com and the carriers´ web sites have had trouble standing up under such a load. Though their sites went down more often last year, I can say from personal experience that the Verizon site maintained steady throughout last night´s frenzy. I did not purchase through Verizon, however, as I much prefer to purchase from Apple. Apple.com was acting strangely for me, allowing me to select a color and size, but not the carrier. For the second year in a row, I was able to preorder my iPhone easily and successfully through the Apple Store app.
If you were one of the lucky ones to get your preorder in last night, prepare yourself for the longest week of your life as you wait for September 21st to arrive.