AT&T [NYSE:ATT] definitely got the short end of the stick (or stock) during the iPhone 3G rollout, as the little orange stores sold out almost immediately. For a while, it was looking like the only way to get an iPhone 3G in-hand was to bake in the hot sun for four hours outside an Apple [NASDAQ:AAPL] store in line. Well, the tables have turned now that the Apple stores have all run out of stock as well. Now it seems a prospective buyer’s best bet is to go and pre-order a phone from the AT&T store — Apple stores don’t do customer pre-orders — and wait for them to call you saying its arrived. AT&T’s direct fulfillment deal requires customers to pre-pay for the iPhone of their choice, which is lame, but the good news is that the average wait when ordering through AT&T is only about two weeks (compare this to even the most sanguine re-stocking estimates, which come in at around 4-6 weeks for either Apple or AT&T stores). Apparently Apple is diverting all of its stock first to pre-orders, not to its own stores.Which is good news for you, if you know the good news.
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