iPhone 3G: AT&T cares about you, Apple couldn't care less

I like to pound on AT&T when given the chance, but I can’t justifiably rag them over iPocalypse. Apple dropped the ball when the iTunes servers crashed from everyone and their mother trying to update their first gen and/or activate the 3G model. They didn’t even bother sending out a release over the matter, which is sort of a PR no-no, IMO. But what else is new these days? Walt ragged on MobileMe earlier and for good reason. It stinks. Apple has a big fat FAIL rating at the moment. I’ve grown ever so close to my iP3G and barely ever touch my beloved BlackBerry anymore. However, it’s not all puppies and rainbows. The transition from 3G to EDGE and back is horrendous. But I won’t go any further then that.

Anyway, back to the topic at hand, the iPhone 3G shortage. Wherever you go it seems that the iP3G is sold out and, let’s face it, cheaper hardware will do that sort of thing, but AT&T stores are a barren wasteland compared to Apple stores. Again, not their fault since Apple hordes them, but today they’ve gone ahead and updated their press site with info on inventory.

We’ve seen incredible demand for iPhone 3G since it launched — and subsequently sold out — on July 11. Many customers have opted to purchase iPhone 3G through direct fulfillment, which lets them purchase the device at their convenience and return to the store to pick it up as soon as it arrives in to the store. For those customers who have ordered through direct fulfillment, and have not yet received their iPhone 3G, here’s a quick update on our current inventory:

* As of July 23, direct fulfillment customers are receiving their iPhone 3G, on average, 13 or 14 days following purchase.
* Delivery times vary based on the specific model a customer chooses (8 GB, 16 GB white, 16 GB black).

AT&T handles direct fulfillment on a first-come, first-served basis, giving everyone an opportunity for stress-free shopping. As we receive new inventory from Apple, we are shipping it out immediately to fill customers’ orders. We hope to begin re-stocking our stores as soon as we can, but first priority goes to those customers who purchased through direct fulfillment.

Looks like I found a reason to rag on you, AT&T. It’s nice that you’ve updated the site regarding the iP3G shortage and all, but it’s sort of “whatever” if you don’t have a stock tracker for your chain of stores like Apple does. Look across the pond at O2 and take some notes. They’ve included a list of stores that have them in stock and update it daily. But hey, at least you’re trying. I can’t say the same for Apple.

Guess I didn’t think this one through all the way.