Apple opened pre-orders globally for the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus at midnight PST last night, allowing you to buy online and avoid the queues at physical shops. But then drama ensued.
Apple’s online store in the US crashed for two hours and 25 minutes a short while after pre-orders opened. It appears online stores outside of the US were unaffected by the issues, and pre-orders through carriers largely started without problems as well. Still, plenty of Americans were outraged by Apple's bumpy start and of course took to Twitter to voice their frustrations. Some people humorously tweeted that they might just as well "wait for the iPhone 6S now".
Although people around the world eventually gained access to Apple's online pre-ordering system, the entire debacle won't reflect too well on Angela Ahrendts. She's the former Burberry CEO who became head of Apple's online and physical store retail in May. It also doesn't look good for Apple in general, especially after the company's botched live-stream efforts for the 9 September event.
That said, Apple had forecasted the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus launch would be its biggest ever. And it appears the company was right. In a statement to Pocket-lint on Friday, Apple announced that the response to iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus "has been incredible, with a record number of pre-orders" overnight. It's therefore safe to assume that such a strong demand probably caused or at least had something to do with Apple's site problems.
Unfortunately, the record number of sales also means Apple and most major carriers in both the US and UK have sold through their iPhone 6 Plus pre-order allotments. People can still pre-order the device online; they just have to deal with longer ship times if they choose that model. The 64GB and 128GB iPhone 6 Plus from Verizon in US, for instance, has a mid-October ship date. Apple’s site was quoting ship times of up to four weeks for all carriers.
As for the UK, Apple's site was also quoting ship times of up to four weeks for carriers Three and O2 (and even the SIM-free model of iPhone 6 Plus). The iPhone 6 however appears to be in stock in the UK. It's unclear how many units have been sold so far, but Apple, according to its previous patterns, is expected to announce initial sales of the iPhone 6s on Monday. In 2012 the company announced iPhone 5 pre-orders surpassed 2 million units sold in just 24 hours.
Thus, if you want your iPhone 6 or iPhone 6 Plus sooner than October, you might have to deal with lengthy queues after all. Apple said you can simply visit an Apple Retail Store on 19 September, when the smartphones hit retail shelves, and (hopefully) walk out with one that day.