As the launch of Apple’s fourth-generation smartphone rapidly approaches, the controversy surrounding the pre-ordering mess that ensued last Tuesday has given incentive for many unsuspecting individuals to wait in long lines at their local retail stores in hopes of receiving a unit on launch day tomorrow.
Image taken by Gizmodo
As we reported earlier, demand for this particular iPhone release is ten times higher than the first day pre-orders of the iPhone 3GS last June. Apple’s ordering and reservation system saw an unexpected 600,000 pre-orders for the iPhone 4 within just 10 hours of going online, and the extraordinarily high volume of requests managed to crash its system as well as AT&T’s system almost entirely. In addition to the toppling PR disaster for both companies was the fact that several thousand AT&T wireless customer accounts were being mistakenly cross-referenced with other customer accounts, resulting in massive privacy breaches where one user’s information would end up in the hands of someone completely different.
Due to its lack of foresight, Apple is having a very difficult job trying to meet consumer demands with the quantity of units it will have available in its supply chain when it comes time to launch tomorrow. The company has given RadioShack, Best Buy and WalMart the go-ahead to sell the iPhone 4 on launch day to retail store customers on a first-come, first-served basis. Unlike Best Buy and RadioShack, however, Walmart did not offer pre-order for the new device and has instead opted to leave availability open to the braving few who line up on launch day. Many analysts are predicting that Apple’s partnership with WalMart, the largest retail chain in the US, will return a significant sales margin of iPhone 4 units sold in comparison to the other retail locations and will make an impression on iPad sales if it decides to sell them by the end of the year.
A few hours ago, a news tipster sent Engadget two photos of the final retail packaging of the iPhone 4, indicating the device has arrived at WalMart and Best Buy storehouses in time for launch. Engadget’s own Joshua Topolsky has already published his review of the iPhone 4 an entire day and a half before official launch. Rest assured, we will be following up with our own comprehensive review of the device over the weekend.
Apple product owners in Southern California will be getting a special treat this Thursday, as the company will also be opening a new retail store in southeast Los Angeles County to coincide with the iPhone 4 launch. The new store will hold its grand opening between 7am and 9am PST and will officially be named Apple Store Los Cerritos, located at the Los Cerritos Mall in Cerritos, California. Regular store hours will be Monday through Friday from 10am to 8pm, Saturday from 10am to 8pm and Sunday from 11am to 7pm. In what seems to be an effort to take a bite from Apple, however, Microsoft is also opening its fourth retail store in Southern California on Thursday at San Diego’s Fashion Valley Mall. The store will be the second to open in the region alongside one of the company’s first retail stores in Mission Viejo, Calif. that had its grand opening on October 29, 2009.
Image taken by Steven Georges / Press-Telegram
In addition, Apple plans to open another twenty two stores during this fiscal year, half of which will be opening outside the US.