Apple started preorders for the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus in the wee hours of the morning Friday and ran into trouble almost immediately. Many who attempted to purchase the new smartphones from Apple were unable to do so, and Apple's Web Store didn't fully recover for hours. Early indicators suggest the larger of the two phones is seeing higher demand from consumers.
Online sales kicked off at midnight on the West Coast (3:00 a.m. on the East Coast). According to the rantings posted by angry customers on Twitter, the process was anything but smooth. By many accounts, people were unable to place orders for up to two-a-half hours after sales began. More than a few gave up entirely and went to bed. The problems appear to have been limited to Apple's US Web Store; those preordering in the UK didn't report issues.
Carrier websites were a little bit better in their performance. AT&T, Sprint, and Verizon Wireless also began offering the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus at midnight Pacific time. The sites buckled here and there, but held up more consistently than Apple's site. Oddly, T-Mobile didn't begin selling Apple's new iPhones until 8:00 a.m. on the East Coast. It skipped the middle-of-the-night kickoff entirely.
[Want to know how much that new iPhone is going to cost you? Read: Apple iPhone 6 Goes On Sale: Pricing Details.]
If you forgot to get up and order in the middle of the night -- or simply placed a higher value on getting a good night's sleep -- you may be out of luck in snagging your model of choice. All variants of the iPhone 6 Plus are shipping in three to four weeks, according to Apple's website. The phone is not available for delivery or in-store pickup on the Sept. 19 release date. The 6 Plus has a 5.5-inch full HD display, while the 6 has a 4.7-inch 1334 x 750 pixel display.
Some versions of the iPhone 6 are seeing shipping delays, too. Sprint customers, for example, won't receive their iPhone 6 for seven to 10 days after Sept. 19.
For those not interested in preordering, both iPhones will be available in Apple, AT&T, Best Buy, Sprint, Target, T-Mobile, Verizon Wireless, and Wal-Mart stores on Sept. 19. Apple will open its doors at 8:00 a.m., as will the carrier stores. Best Buy, Target, and Wal-Mart may open later for iPhone sales.
With the iPhone 6 Plus essentially selling out online for launch day, it calls into question just how many will be available in Apple's retail stores. Supply could be constrained. Apple has struggled with supply on the first day of iPhone sales nearly every year. Last year, for example, the gold iPhone 5s proved much more popular than Apple had forecast. The gold models sold out quickly across all four major carriers. People who dare to shop for a new iPhone at Apple Stores on launch day may have to make compromises with respect to the color or capacity of the device they want.
And so goes the annual ritual of iPhone mania.
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