iPhone 4 Pre-Order Guide: Save the Headache, Just Wait

iPhone 4I 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.


1.Order from AT&T

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?

2. Order from Apple

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

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