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iPhone 4 pre-order gets off to slightly choppy start

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(Read caption) The iPhone 4 is seen in San Francisco. On Tuesday, the iPhone 4 pre-order blitz began. But the Apple Store reportedly crashed for at least an hour under heavy traffic pressure.

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Early adopters, take your mark. On Tuesday morning, Apple began taking pre-orders for the much-hyped iPhone 4, the boxy, feature-heavy successor to the iPhone 3G S. As of 9 a.m., Apple was only accepting pre-orders for two iPhone 4 models, both in black: The 16 GB handset, which is priced at $199 with a contract, and the 32 GB handset, which will retail for $299. Apple said pre-ordered iPhones should ship by June 24.

The iPhone 4 pre-order launch did not go off without a few snags. At 6 a.m., Computerworld bloggers reported that the the US Apple store was flashing error messages. The site apparently went down for at least an hour, and was back up at 8 a.m., at which point Computerworld staff successfully pre-ordered an iPhone 4. Meanwhile, the Register reported that the UK Apple Store had apparently crumpled under heavy traffic.

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For our part, we found the Apple Store to be a bit slow, but we managed to click through to the iPhone 4 pre-order screens without much hassle. No word yet on when Apple will begin pre-selling the iPhone 4 in white, but we expect that option should be added to the site within the next week or so.

Steve Jobs unveiled the iPhone 4 at the WWDC conference in San Francisco last week. Although reviewers have not yet been given the chance to put the iPhone 4 through its full paces, early buzz is positive. Of especial interest is a range of features unique to the iPhone 4, including a gyroscope, for improved gaming motion control, and an HD video camera.

As expected, Apple has announced that it will drop the price of the iPhone 3G S to $99. Trying to decide whether to buy an iPhone 3G or whether to pre-order an iPhone 4? Check out our handy side-by-side comparison.

Editor's note: The original version of this story misstated the capacity of the $199 iPhone 4. It can hold 16 GB of information.