AT&T, Apple servers already buckling under iPhone 4 customer load? [updated x5]

AT&T, Apple servers already buckling under iPhone 4 customer load? [updated x5] 1

Less than half an hour after the start of iPhone 4 pre-orders, the processing system used by Apple and AT&T to sign up new customers for iPhone data plans appears to be experiencing order-stopping technical issues. Though existing line orders for the iPhone 4 appeared to be working, attempts to use Apple’s “” pages to sign up for new service are stalling, producing an endlessly spinning gear with the message, “Please wait while we process your request,” and/or “session expired” notices claiming a timeout on the user’s side due to inactivity.


It remains to be seen whether these ordering problems are merely a brief early hiccup, or a repeat of past AT&T account issues that marred past iPhone launches with extended service activation delays.

Update: Problems continue an hour and fifteen minutes after the start of pre-ordering and appear not to be limited to new customers, or even just U.S. customers. Unusual Apple Store errors are appearing when attempting to pre-order iPhone hardware from the United Kingdom, and readers with existing AT&T accounts are also reporting timeouts when attempting to order the iPhone 4 from Apple’s web site.



Update 2: Nearly two hours into pre-ordering, the Apple Store’s prior timeout and spinning gear errors have now been joined by a generic “oops” error that appears when attempting to place the iPhone 4 in a cart for online ordering and at-home delivery. Apple currently appears to be falling back to a semi-working system that offers reservations for in-store pickups as an alternative to the still-problematic online ordering system.

Update 3: Apple has taken the Store offline in an apparent attempt to resolve the ordering problems. AT&T’s web site was, as of several minutes ago, processing iPhone 4 orders properly for existing customers but not yet taking orders from new customers. Like Apple, AT&T was accepting orders only for black iPhone 4 models without an option for white ones. As of now, AT&T’s site is down with a “currently doing maintenance” message.

Update 4: Both Apple’s and AT&T’s pre-order sites have returned. Reports from readers indicate that some AT&T iPhone 4 orders were abruptly cancelled for reasons unknown; we’d advise checking your e-mail account for cancellation notices in the event that you ordered from AT&T earlier this morning.

Update 5: Five hours after pre-orders started, both Apple’s and AT&T’s web sites are continuing to experience major service interruptions and order processing failures. We’ll update this story again when the problems are resolved.

  1. Spent all day trying to get a new phone ordered. Wow! we got s*&%$ed by AT&T again first no more unlimited plan, then they rip that concept away from the iPad not even a month old (3G). Sorry I love Apple products, but it’s time to keep my current iPhone until contract up and get a new Google variation phone. I know the other companies don’t have unlimited, but if that’s the future, I want a future with company that knows service. Sorry Apple, but you’re married to a murderer of service, time for a divorce!!!

  2. To Celeste who’s ranting about exchanging a phone bought 30 days ago…. are you serious? You expect them to exchange a phone on an upgrade for a phone you bought (I’m betting actually over) 30 days ago? That is not their problem it’s yours. And you stating that they “assured” you that you could exchange it sounds like rubbish since if you were a smart buyer you would know you can’t return phones after usually 14 days, 30 if you are lucky.

    You should have waited for the launch of the phone which was widely known to be coming in June.

  3. 4:45PM. Done. Got reservation confirmation email. It’s like winning the lottery trying to get through the spinning wheel….

  4. 10:45 pm just got confirm thru the apple site for home delivery. Took at least 50 tries all day. now down for “repair” so hopefully….

  5. Had success ordering two phones on using my iPad (but it wouldn’t work on my Mac). However, was very disappointed to see that the ship date is listed as July 2nd! I saw that AT&T sold out, but Apple? C’mon!!!

  6. After selling my phone to Radio Shack on Saturday and being promised by the store manager that I was guaranteed to pre order today no matter what time I came in. I found out that they stopped taking pre orders at noon today. Now I’m stuck without an iPhone old or new and they wont’t tell me when I will be able to order a new phone. To top it all off I decided to check if I could reserve a phone from Apple and guess what I can and I did. Anyone looking for a 149.00 gift card from Radio Shack??? LOL

  7. This is in the fine print at the bottom the the reservation email that I received from Apple. Does this mean that I am not guaranteed a phone?
    “Pre-authorization does not guarantee iPhone availability at an Apple Retail Store. iPhone is sold on a first-come, first-served basis.

  8. Well i was able to reserve my iPhone for store pickup starting at 7 a.m. on June 24th. But like Scott^^ i too wonder about this fine print,“Pre-authorization does not guarantee iPhone availability at an Apple Retail Store. iPhone is sold on a first-come, first-served basis.” Looks like i’ll be camping out just in case.

  9. No sure now if I’m jealous that Canada must wait (yet again…) for iPhone 4, or glad I wasn’t glued to my computer all day today spitting mad that I could not my shinny new iPhone due to a technical issue with AT&T’s system.

    Though I realise that Apple’s site was experiencing issues as well, the upgrade process requires access to AT&T’s system. How much do you wanna bet they’re not using macs?

    At any rate, I suppose it’s a good thing I’m not half bald right now from ripping my hair out in frustration, like so many of my southern neighbours. However, if you really want a piece of hot new apple tech, there’s always waiting in line on launch day (or my preferred method, waiting a few days until the storm has passed). Besides, I’m sure there will be plenty of units available for all who want one. You can bet production is being ramped up to maximum output in light of today’s sales, the sheer volume of which probably caused AT&T’s glitches. (Is anyone reminded of launch day failed activations of iPhones past due to “too many” iPhones being sold and activated at the same time).

    Reality is, if you want a glossy, thin, hi-res, dual camera, HD video shooting, multi-tasking, shinny new iPhone 4, you’re going to get one. And if you tried to pre-order one today unsuccessfully, we all know that despite your understandable frustration and insatiable anticipatory agony, you’re still gonna get one. NO MATTER HOW MAD AT&T MAKES YOU! The iPhone is quite simply, just that cool.

    Still waiting for my iPhone up here… (not even a date announced yet eh? And you thought your wait was gonna be tough?)

  10. As of now, I got these options:

    In store reservations no longer available, but they did offer to let me pick one up at an Apple store starting 7am 6/24 “on a first-come, first-serve basis”.

    I chose shipping: “ships by july 2 / delivers july 6-8 by std shipping”

    No problems with server response. I guess most people have gone to sleep by now!

  11. THIS IS A SCAM & A JOKE!@!! I called ATT customer service and 3 stores to make sure I could exchange my 3gs for the 4, since I purchased it from ATT less than 30 days ago & was ASSURED that I could bring in my receipt & reserve. Today @ 9am Apple decided they would not accept CASH or DEBIT/VISA cards & sent an email to the stores that all reservations required a credit card & you must pay the FULL PRICE of the phone, even if it’s an exchange!! After my husband told everyone in line the screaming began! He then bought an AMEX gift card with the cash & they said that the store could process it but the main system declined it and cancelled the order!! SO after 3 hours on line I STILL HAVE NO IPHONE 4!! WHO DOESN’T TAKE CASH!!!!!

  12. Well, now the wheels have really come off.

    I just logged back onto AT&T for the first time since this morning. Now I can’t get anywhere because my eligibility date has been pushed back by a full year, to 6/16/2011.

    When AT&T got the exclusivity agreement for the iPhone, I had faint hopes that the surge of subscriber revenue would come back to the consumer in the form of improved services. Shame on me for being an eternal optimist.

  13. Got in to reserve my phone and said that I could get it at the apple store when they come out. My mom did the same thing but she got an email verification and I didn’t. Anyone else having this problem?

  14. I started trying to order on Apple’s site at about 5:30 this morning. Got the same errors as everyone else. Apple store went down and came back up. Tried some more, no joy. Gave up and went to AT&T. Site was slow, but I was able to complete my order with no problem. Got the email confirmation. No cancellation notice as of this evening, so I think I’m set.

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