iPhone 4 preorders top 600,000 as unlocked iPhones head to Canada

iPhone 4 preorder sales break Apple's own record for most smart phones sold in a day. Plus: Canada gets an unlocked iPhone.

iPhone 4 preorders originally promised to ship on June 24, but demand for the newest iPhone has reportedly been overwhelming. Now Apple says customers may have to wait until July 14 for a iPhone 4 preordered through the Apple Store.

While Apple fans pulled their hair out Tuesday trying to secure an iPhone 4 preorder, the company actually had a pretty good day.

Apple, AT&T, and the foreign iPhone carriers tallied 600,000 preorder sales in 24 hours. The number likely would have been much higher had their computer systems kept up with demand.

"It was the largest number of pre-orders Apple has ever taken in a single day and was far higher than we anticipated, resulting in many order and approval system malfunctions," writes Apple in a public apology letter. "Many customers were turned away or abandoned the process in frustration. We apologize to everyone who encountered difficulties, and hope that they will try again or visit an Apple or carrier store once the iPhone 4 is in stock."

The iPhone 4's one-day total was 10-times higher than the iPhone 3G S's last summer. And that previous model still went on to sell 1 million units in three days.

Nonetheless, these lofty stats don't offer any comfort to grumpy shoppers turned away by error messages – or by the elusive white iPhones.

"Been trying off and on throughout the day on both Apple site and AT&T," writes Monitor reader Louis. "Both give error messages each time. Verizon and Droid are looking more and more appealing."

On Thursday morning, Apple's website says new preorders will ship July 14, nearly three weeks after the iPhone 4 is supposed to go on sale in stores. But, hey, you can still get the $99 iPhone 3G S by June 24. In fact, colleague Matt Shaer wrote recently that the iPhone 3G S is a better fit for some shoppers.

Either way, Canadians have something to celebrate this week. Our neighbor to the north is now the second country to enjoy legitimately unlocked iPhones. As Apple fans in the United Kingdom already know, unlocking the iPhone means that it will work on any GSM phone carrier. Here in the states, we're still stuck with a single phone company, AT&T.

This new Canadian policy hints that those rumors about T-Mobile (a GSM carrier) may be true. It also suggests that a Verizon iPhone (which would need to work on a CDMA network instead of the global GSM technology) is still a long ways away.

IN PICTURES: Apple iCandy

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