The iPhone 4S online pre-order went live last night, and the experience was hectic for me. Sales started about 40 minutes past the original estimate and customers vented their frustration on Twitter.
Once live, Apple's store site was quickly overwhelmed by customers as was the Apple Store app. Most problems appear to have been had by US AT&T customers -- Verizon customers, for example, and customers outside the United States seem to have made their purchases rather quickly and moved on.
Starting at about 5AM, Apple temporarily switched to a reservation system instead of a purchase system. Apple promised, "We will email you at this address when it's time to complete your order. At that time, you will return to the Apple Store to confirm pricing and plan selection."
Unfortunately, many of those reservation orders encountered snags this morning and customers were directed to complete their purchases at retail Apple stores.
After that, things seem to have smoothed out as many previously-frustrated customers were funneled out of the Apple system. By the time TUAW's Steve Sande woke up a bit after 5AM, everything was, in his words, "roses and unicorn smiles."
For me, personally, my shopping ordeal went on for a couple of hours. Although my heart was set on a 64-GB unlocked GSM world phone, those won't be on sale until November. I settled (though it's hardly settling) for a 32-GB AT&T model, which should provide a good balance of what I need for work vs enough storage space for lots of music, apps and photographs.
Did you participate in the shopping frenzy last night? Share your experience in the comments, and let us know what you bought.