Advice: Avoid AT&T, O2 Stores for iPhone 3G [updated x2]

iLounge’s editors have been attending iPhone 3G launch events today in three U.S. states, as well as in Canada. After hours of waiting in lines that were clearly past AT&T’s capacity to satisfy today with product, we offer our readers the following advice: do not wait in line AT&T stores, unless you are prepared to suffer major disappointment. Updated: Our UK editor notes similar issues at O2 in the United Kingdom; see this article’s comments for details there.

As was the case with last year’s launch of the iPhone, AT&T stores have today allowed lines to form well in excess of their actual capacity to presently supply iPhone 3G hardware. At one store we visited this morning, the AT&T store ran entirely out of 16GB iPhones after only 12 customers had made purchases. Another AT&T store ran out of black 16GB units after roughly 10 people had left the store, and customers began to leave the line after extended waits without a guarantee of sufficient inventory.

Though the lines to purchase the iPhone 3G appear to be both shorter and less energetic than last year’s iPhone queues, AT&T’s stores appear unable to satisfy the demand, yet are keeping people in line until they can offer to order units that may be in stock by next week. Lines at Apple Stores are somewhat longer, though it is unclear as to how much inventory they have. We will be updating this story throughout the day.

Canada: Rogers’ flagship store in Toronto had a line of roughly 80 people by 5:00AM; by 9:00AM, an hour after the store opened with groups of 10, they had processed 20 people. The store had a total of 90-100 units, with roughly 20% as 16GB models. A smaller Rogers location, received a total of 6 iPhone 3G units, with one black 16GB, one white 16GB, and four black 8GB models. The Apple Stores in Canada are not selling the iPhone 3G, making Rogers locations the only places to purchase units.

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