By Philip Elmer-DeWitt
June 15, 2010

A bad day to invite customers to purchase products “from the convenience of their iPhone”

Tuesday was a busy day for Apple (AAPL). Very busy.

The company refreshed its Mac mini line. It started taking pre-orders for the iPhone 4. And it launched a free Apple Store app. According to the press release:

“The new Apple Store app makes it easy for US customers with an iPhone or iPod touch to find an Apple retail store near them and make reservations for amazing retail services including free tech support and advice at the Genius Bar, hands-on workshops, Personal Shopping appointments and personal training sessions through Appleā€™s popular One to One program.”

Unfortunately, the new app didn’t make anything easy. The rush of iPhone 4 pre-orders that slowed the online Apple Store to a crawl also tripped up the Apple Store app. For some customers, it simply wouldn’t open. For others, it started taking data — phone numbers, social security digits and zip codes — and then crashed.

It’s not as if this kind of thing doesn’t happen every day on Web-based retail sites. But Apple customers have come to expect products and services that just work.

We expect this one will too. Eventually.

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[Follow Philip Elmer-DeWitt on Twitter @philiped]

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