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Apple, AT&T Scramble To Keep Up With iPhone Pre-Order Rush

Apple's launch of the iPhone 4 is over a week away, but the company and its carrier partner AT&T are already dealing with a flood of interest in the new smartphone.

Customers can now pre-order their own iPhone 4 on either the Apple or AT&T Websites, but one of the early complaints, as seen on Engadget, is the unavailability of the white device. Only the black iPhone 4 will be ready for pick-up or delivery on June 24, the day of its scheduled release.

Apple and AT&T's Websites experienced heavy traffic early Tuesday as customers rushed to be among the first to reserve an iPhone.

One Apple reseller who experienced difficulty pre-ordering the iPhone 4 blames AT&T for underestimating demand.

“AT&T was not well-prepared for this launch, as evidenced by massive overloads of their servers, and that was just the beginning,” said Simeon Tauber, principal at Simply Macintosh, an Arcata, Calif.-based Apple reseller that has experience selling cell phones. “When I was finally able to prove who I was and actually order my 4G phone, there was no mention of iPhones on their site.

Added Tauber: “It must have cost them a fortune to handle all of the customer service calls, which could have been avoided if their phone system didn't drop calls after having you hold for 10 to 15 minutes.”

Tauber said better stress testing of the system -- prior to Tuesday’s pre-order scramble -- likely would have produced a more positive customer experience for AT&T and for its customers.

Apple has been working hard to stay up to speed with iPhone demand, and rightfully so: The iPhone has become one of the pillars of its business, and company executives have begun referring to Apple as a mobile device company, something that would have sounded bizarre just a few years ago.

Apple CEO Steve Jobs unveiled the improved iPhone 4 at the Worldwide Developers Conference in San Francisco earlier this month, showing off a thinner handset with an improved screen and a front facing video camera that enables video calls.

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