Tale of Two Mobile Phones: HTC EVO 4G and iPhone 4

The Apple iPhone 4 was announced and showcased during Steve Jobs’ WWDC Keynote address on June 7th, the same day Sprint released their statement eluding to selling as many as 600k unit of the HTC EVO 4G phone. Steve Jobs demonstrated the product and quite frankly surprised us that the device would go on pre-order June 15th and be in consumer hands on June 24th. Typically Apple waits a month after an announcement for pre-orders and typically a couple of weeks to another month to get their devices in your hands.

Fast forward to yesterday, June 15th. Sometime after 1a in the morning, the Apple store started taking pre-orders. Throughout much of the day starting apparently around 3a, AT&T’s ordering system undergoes basically a Denial of Service (DoS) attack by people wanting to purchase the device due to demand. The UK sold out of their pre-order allotment by 10a and the US had sold-out of their pre-order allotment by 4:30p ET. Everyone was wondering how many devices AT&T/Apple had to sell for original pre-order.

June 16th the world discovered that within the first day, 600k iPhone 4’s were pre-ordered despite AT&T’s inadequacies to handle the load and some privacy issues some people encountered as they ordered phones but were dropped into other customer accounts. AT&T also decided to suspend taking pre-orders due to the strain on their ordering system.

“It was the largest number of preorders Apple has ever taken in a single day and was far higher than we anticipated, resulting in many order and approval system malfunctions,” Apple said in a statement. “Many customers were turned away or abandoned the process in frustration. We apologize to everyone who encountered difficulties, and hope that they will try again or visit an Apple or carrier store once the iPhone 4 is in stock.”

AT&T’s Mark Siegel told the New York Times that demand was some 10 times what was experienced when pre-ordering opened for the iPhone 3GS a year ago.

“Given this unprecedented demand and our current expectations for our iPhone 4 inventory levels when the device is available June 24, we’re suspending preordering today in order to fulfill the orders we’ve already received,” Siegal told the Times, adding that when it will resume taking order depends on the availability of additional inventory.

Additionally, customers pre-ordering earlier today and when AT&T opens up pre-ordering again will not have their devices shipped at least until July 14th.