Apple and AT&T officially launched pre-orders for the Apple iPhone 4 on Tuesday, promising to have the now-coveted smartphone in users' mitts by June 24, the same day the device is due to land in stores.
With little fanfare the pre-order popped up on Apple store's Web site, offering the 16 GB Apple iPhone 4 for $199 and the 32 GB model for $299, each requiring a two-year AT&T agreement. As of 8 a.m. eastern, only the black model was available for pre-order from Apple and AT&T. There was no mention of the white model.
AT&T's site also launched the iPhone 4 for pre-order shortly after midnight Tuesday. AT&T also plans delivery of pre-ordered iPhone 4s by June 24, but covered itself in the event that it misses that delivery target.
Apple and AT&T on Tuesday also started taking pre-orders for the $99 8 GB Apple iPhone 3G S.
"Pre-orders for iPhone 4 and iPhone 3GS 8G will be processed to arrive as early as June 24, 2010, if submitted by 2 p.m. ET, June 22, 2010," AT&T warned on its Web site. "The actual shipment date and receipt of your order is not guaranteed and may be subject to delays for reasons that include, but are not limited to, product availability, inventory, credit issues, number porting or carrier delays, and completion of other required AT&T business processes."
Apple and AT&T launching pre-orders comes a day after retailers Best Buy and Radio Shack also said they would be pre-selling the fourth-generation iPhone. To a packed house in San Francisco Steve Jobs officially unveiled the Apple iPhone 4 last week at Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC). Wal-Mart is also expected to launch its pre-order for the Apple iPhone 4 on Tuesday.
The latest version of the iPhone comes as exclusive carrier AT&T tweaks its wireless data plans for smartphones and other devices leveraging its 3G network. AT&T has scrapped its unlimited wireless data plans and is forcing users to select either a plan that offers 200 MB of data per month for $15 or 2 GB of data per month for $25. Users with unlimited plans are grandfathered in and can continue to use the $30 unlimited wireless data offering. Industry watchers have questioned whether the changes to AT&T's wireless data plans would affect sales of the new iPhone.
Along with AT&T's data rate shuffle, the Apple iPhone 4 also faces stiff competition in the HTC EVO 4G, the first commercially available 4G device which runs on Sprint's WiMax network. The smartphone has been heralded as an official iPhone killer as the HTC EVO 4G and the Apple iPhone 4 battle head-to-head for smartphone supremacy. Sprint last week said it is confident that the HTC EVO 4G can thwart the annual iPhone mass exodus away from the carrier that occurs each time a new iPhone hits the market and customers flee Sprint for AT&T.
The new iPhone adds a host of new features not available in its predecessor, the iPhone 3G S. It adds HD video recording at 720p, multi-tasking, a gyroscope and dual cameras enabling video chat with other Apple iPhone 4 users. It will also come standard with Apple iPhone OS 4.