In a BIG way. A little right, too, but mostly wrong.
In yesterday’s editorial, and in the comments, I took the stance that despite the high demand for the new iPhone 4 it was unlikely that the pre-order inventory would be exhausted on the first day.
BOY, was I wrong.
Demand for the new iPhone was so strong that, despite the problems that plagued Apple and AT&T’s systems from the high volume of orders, Apple and AT&T ran through their inventory of pre-order phones in less than a day. AT&T ran through their allotment very early in the day. Other resellers such as Best Buy and Radio Shack (now just “The Shack”) exhausted their allotment within hours after they started taking pre-orders. And last night on the US Apple Store, the availability for the iPhone 4 quietly ticked over from “Delivered on June 24th” to “Ships on July 2nd”.
Orion commented on yesterday’s iPhone 4 Preorder Madness editorial that, the the new phones “are also not in infinite supply” as a rationale for the massive drive by customers to put in their pre-orders. While this is correct, we should also remember that the window for acquiring an iPhone 4 is roughly 11 months long, and the penalty for waiting to long to get one is the opportunity to order an iPhone 5. So, I was right in that there really isn’t a great need to scramble to get your hands on a new iPhone. They’ll be around for a while, and most of us already have perfectly serviceable phones to use in the meantime. I mean, we got this far, didn’t we?
But I clearly didn’t understand how strongly the desire for the new phone ran. For those, like myself, who didn’t get a pre-order in, we now have the choice of standing in line at the Apple Store on June 24th in the hopes of being early enough in line to get one of the units set aside for walk-in customers on the release date, or place your order now for the July 2nd ship date and expect to see your new phone the following week, or just wait until the rush dies down and the phones are plentiful and easy to find.
I have to wonder what feature has made the iPhone 4 so irresistible to so many. Is this just the mass of iPhone and iPhone 3G users whose commitments have expired looking to get their hands on a phone that can take full advantage of iOS 4? Or new users who have been waiting for multi-tasking before buying in? Is it Facetime that has tipped the scales for users new and old who now have to have the ability to place video calls? The new Retina Display? The LED Flash? The ability to take and edit video right on your phone? Or the combination of all of these?
I guess June is going to have a second poll so I can find out.
I hope everyone got their pre-orders in. And next week, when you get your hands on the new phone, let me know what you think.