iPhone fans have stormed Apple’s websites in such large numbers to pre-order the newest version that many were unable to reserve one.

The number of pre-orders overwhelmed Apple’s online stores around the world as it opened for business 10 days before the iPhone 4 was to become available on June 24.

Apple said in a statement on Wednesday that it had taken 600,000 pre-orders for the new phone on Tuesday, “the largest number of pre-orders Apple has ever taken in a single day, and ... far higher than we anticipated.”

Apple apologised to everyone who encountered difficulties and to those who “abandoned the process in frustration.”

In Germany, a Deutsche Telekom spokesman said “the rush on our website was enormous ... the demand was 10 times as high as the launch of the previous model 3Gs.” The rush is a bad omen for all those who wanted to have the newest iPhone in their hands next Thursday, when deliveries were scheduled to begin.

“It’s possible we will not be able to fill all requests immediately,” the Telekom spokesman said. Apple appeared to be lagging behind in its production. “We have been allowed far fewer phones than we ordered.” Deutsche Telekom opened its lines for business at 10 am on Tuesday.

Shortly thereafter its main server was overburdened by the number of pre-orders. “Every now and then, customers got through,” the spokesman said. But things had stabilised after Telekom added capacity to the website.

Customers who wanted to order directly through Apple also needed lots of luck to get through. AT&T, the U.S. partner for iPhones, had problems coping with the online orders. Some customers ended up getting their orders mixed up — the second security glitch for AT&T in recent weeks after 114,000 e-mail addresses of iPad owners became accessible to the public.

According to the technology blog Gizmodo, some people saw evidence of a security breach involving overlap between user accounts on AT&T’s site.

Mark Siegel, a spokesman for AT&T, told the New York Times that it had been unable to replicate the security issue, “but the information displayed did not include call detail records, Social Security numbers or credit card information.”

Apple head Steve Jobs introduced the fourth-generation iPhone several weeks ago. The new version features a higher-resolution screen, longer battery life, a faster processor and two built-in video cameras on either side for video conferences.

Keywords: AppleiPhone 4