I only purchased my first iPhone 3 16GB six months ago, so it's still novel enough that I'm not interested in upgrading to the new iPhone 4 that's available for pre-order today. I will say that all those new features -- a more vivid display, a front-facing video camera that lets you see another iPhone user while on the phone with them, extended battery life, and a five megapixel camera with LED flash -- are tempting.
So I decided to pretend I was going to order one to see how easy it would be amid all the rumors of the hour that the web is crashing down due to iPhone 4 Pre-Order Day today.
There are two ways to call dibs for June 24 delivery. Here's how it worked for me. In three words, not too well.
The official iPhone carrier's website offers options for existing AT&T customers (me) and new customers who want to sign up. I did both, first clicking the button as an existing customer. In my imaginary world, I ordered the creme de la creme, the 32GB in black (white is not available for pre-order) for $299, throwing in the Data Pro 2GB with Tethering data plan for $45 (though I had no idea what that was) ... but then the screen froze.
So I went to the ladies' room, walked down the hall to fill up my water bottle, came back to my desk, and found this message: Online Access for Wireless and U-verse accounts is temporarily unavailable. The random upper case and lower case letters in this sentence really bothered me, so I know someone at AT&T had to get it up quickly as soon as they discovered their site was freaking out.
Next, I pretended to be a new customer. It actually worked fine! At least up to the payment page, when I had to bail. But I'm sure that if AT&T had succeeded in baiting this new blood that far, it was going to pull out all stops to make sure I didn't leave without snagging my credit card number and a new contract. This tells me that the bulk of iPhone 4 orderers are likely existing customers.
As long as I gave them my credit card by 2 p.m. today, I could get my phone by June 24. But this sentence was followed by a line that said this is not guaranteed. So, which is it?
There are two options on the phone maker's site: Delivery of your new phone directly to your home or pick it up at the Apple store near you. I'm generally lazy, so I opted for the home delivery button. I clicked on the 32GB again, indicated I was an existing AT&T customer, clicked to continue ... and that's as far as I got before the swirling daisy of death froze my screen and prompted the message: "Your request could not be processed. Please try again later."
Sorry, I won't be, but I know lots of iPhonophiles will. If you're one of them, PC Magazine has a guide to pre-ordering the iPhone you might want to read.
My advice: Just wait.
Or, you can hope that the latest rumor about an iPhone pre-order app that Apple is said to be pushing out tomorrow, allowing existing users to reserve the new phone with a few quick taps, is true.
Are you pre-ordering the new iPhone 4 today?
Image via Apple