I don't remember having this much trouble last year when I bought my 3GS but this was certainly what I would label an "ordeal" ... if there ever were such a thing.
It's just a preorder, right? How bad could it be? That bad.
It seems the iPhone 4 went live in the Apple.com store around 4am ET this morning and apparently from then on, Apple's and AT&T's servers both just bent over and gave up. Both sites were up and down most of the morning. So much so that when I woke up at 7am and tried to order (unaware they were already up 3 hours earlier), I got the usual "Apple store is down" post-it note. I assumed they just hadn't gone live yet (most people were expecting 8am ET).
A little bit after I got to work I had been periodically checking apple.com and the store finally opened again around 8:30am. Now was my chance.
Go all the way through with the order to the Add to Cart button... fail. "Oops, there was an error." WTF do you mean "oops" ... I'm trying to buy your shit, let me have it. No "oops" necessary.
This happened a couple times actually - never actually going through. Eventually it just got worse. I was lucky if I was able to enter my AT&T account info on the Apple.com store. Usually got some sort of session error after that.
I had read that a lot of people had better luck ordering through AT&T... thought maybe I'd give it a try - if even hesitantly. My biggest reason to order directly through Apple is that I know you can "pre-sign" for their FedEx deliveries so you don't have to be home to sign for it. A risk, I know... but I am NEVER home during the day when these things deliver - so that is a nice option for people like me.
Anyway, logged into my AT&T page and was able to get to the upgrade page. Selected the 32GB model for preorder and was even able to get to a checkout page. Then it just hung there. I think it was the absolute last page that I had to click on and it did nothing. I don't mean for 20-30 seconds... I'm talking 10-15 minutes. I eventually gave up and closed it - having not seen a confirmation number or confirmation email or anything from them. Safely assuming (so far) that my order did not complete.
I continued to try through the morning always with the same shitty results (both at&t and apple.com). I even went through our Employee Purchase Program link and it failed there too - though I did end up ordering the dock and an orange "bumper" for it without any issue (though they are not set to deliver until after 7/3 - which will probably be when I'm in Salt Lake City).
Eventually I logged into my account on apple.com to check my order history and cart. Maybe I was missing something... and bam! Two iPhones in my cart waiting to check out. While my first thought was definitely "WTF?!" ... my next one was "CHECK OUT!"
Of course I had to remove one of them from my cart (1 phone limit per available line) but was then able to complete checkout and have my 32GB iPhone 4 preordered. Again... what an ordeal.
Now I just have to wait another week + to get it. Then I can even sell my 16GB 3GS. Hopefully still being able to get $200+ for it.