Local Tech Wire

RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, N.C. – If you didn’t pre-order an iPhone 4 from AT&T, don’t expect to be able to buy one of the new phones from Apple at AT&T stores on Thursday.

AT&T (NYSE: T) said Tuesday that it would not have iPhones to sell until Tuesday, June 29.

Record demand for the iPhone 4 led to sellouts of pre-orders.
Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL), however, said Tuesday that a “limited number” of iPhone 4s will be available at retail outlets on Thursday.

Apple has two stores in the Triangle area – at Crabtree Valley Mall in Raleigh and Streets at Southpoint in Durham.

“After a record-setting day of preorders, the new iPhone 4 will begin arriving at the homes of many eager fans this week,” AT&T’s Amy Bristle said in an e-mail Tuesday.

“We know that many, many people are going to want to get one as soon as they can. So we’re laying out the timeline for the next several days.

“One key thing to point out – AT&T won’t be selling iPhone 4 until next Tuesday, June 29. All inventory we receive prior to Tuesday will go to customers who preordered on June 15. Preorder volumes were 10 times higher than last year’s iPhone, so we are working hard to get these devices into customers’ hands as soon as possible.”

Bristle handles media relations for AT&T in the Carolinas.

At its web site, AT&T laid out the following information:

• Preordered for home or business delivery: iPhone 4 will begin arriving this week for customers who preordered. We’ll send an email when each order has shipped.

• Preordered for store delivery: AT&T retail representatives will begin calling customers this week to let them know their iPhone 4 is available for pick up in store.

• Retail purchase (no preorder): AT&T plans to have iPhone 4 inventory – available on a first-come, first-served basis while supplies last – on June 29 in its retail locations, at , and in business sales channels. As inventory sells out, AT&T will offer the convenient option of purchasing iPhone 4 and having it delivered to a home or business or an AT&T store. As always, customers will receive an email once their order is placed, and again when it ships.

Apple posted the following notice:

“Limited iPhone 4 quantities are available in store starting June 24. Save time by starting the pre-authorization process online now.”

Apple and AT&T said they received more than 600,000 orders on June 15 when the pre-order process launched.

AT&T is the exclusive carrier in the U.S..

Customers trying to order through AT&T encountered two major issues: Buyers reported problems registering their orders, and an apparent glitch in AT&T’s website was steering some customers into strangers’ accounts. Lines formed in stores as clerks tried to get orders into their systems.

Dallas-based AT&T said it received 10 times as many pre-launch orders on the first day for the new iPhone model as it did for the previous model last year.

The price of the phone, which includes a sharper screen and longer battery life than previous models along with a video chat feature, starts at $199. Customers who aren’t eligible for upgrades will pay $200 more.

The crush of orders sets the scene for long lines and potential chaos at stores when the iPhone 4 starts selling on Thursday. Judging by previous years, shortages could last through the summer.

Consumers can currently pre-order the iPhone through Apple’s website, though only the black one is available and the site indicates it will ship by July 14. The white model is currently unavailable for order.

(Editor’s note: The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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