iPhone 6 pre-orders were a bigger mess than Apple’s keynote live stream

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Trying to load the Apple Store at 12:27 a.m. Photo: Killian Bell/Cult of Mac.
Trying to load the Apple Store at 12:27 a.m. Photo: Killian Bell/Cult of Mac.

Apple’s new iPhones went up for pre-order this morning, and for those who stayed up late to get their order in, it turned out to be a very long night. The vast majority had to wait until past 12:30 a.m. before the had any joy loading the Apple Online Store, and when it finally went live, many iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus options were “currently unavailable.”

If you’ve ever pre-ordered an iOS device before, you were probably expecting some hiccups. Not even Apple’s website can handle tens of millions of people all trying to order the same thing at the same time. But this year’s pre-order mess seemed by far the worst in recent history — and it wasn’t totally due to overwhelming demand.

Although pre-orders were due to go live at 12:01 a.m. Pacific, most couldn’t gain access to the Apple Store app or the online store before 12:20 a.m. at the earliest, and even then, the ordering process was flaky. Most handset configurations were listed as “currently unavailable,” and the few that were there for the taking couldn’t be claimed before the Apple Store went down again.

But those who were persistent got their reward. By about 12:30 a.m., most configurations were available in most of the launch countries via the Apple Store app for iOS, and if you were fast enough, you could secure one for launch day delivery. Soon after, the Apple Online Store returned, too, but people were still reporting downtime past 12:45 on Twitter.

Here in the U.K., we managed to order a silver iPhone 6 Plus at 8:47 a.m. (12:47 Pacific) with launch day delivery, and those in other parts of Europe seemed to have some success after 12:30, too.

Perhaps somewhat surprisingly, it seemed the smaller iPhone 6 was the one to sell out first in most markets, with shipping times quickly slipping to 7-10 business days, and then 3-4 weeks. All three color options seemed popular in the U.K., but the 16GB iPhones lasted a little longer than the 64GB and 128GB ones.

If you ordered from a carrier instead, you probably enjoyed a much smoother experience. People who chose AT&T were able to pre-order there handsets as early as 11:45 p.m. Pacific, while Verizon and others were taking pre-orders from 12 a.m. and seemed to be able to keep their websites online.

However, T-Mobile in the U.S. isn’t taking pre-orders until 7 a.m. Central, according to reports on Twitter. 

Did you get your iPhone 6 pre-order in before shipping times slipped, or will you be lining up for one on launch day?