According to readers Chris and Justin, all it took to nab the purported pre-order was a quick in-person price check at the nearest "AT&T Product Center," which sold them the delivery guarantee well ahead of the official 12 a.m. Pacific start time.
The receipt obtained by AppleInsider appears to be legitimate, however an AT&T representative confirmed that the shop looks to be an authorized retailer, not a company-operated store. Multiple calls to replicate the buy with similar local AT&T resellers bore no fruit.
It is not clear if the alleged sale is merely a placeholder or an actual legitimate order processed through AT&T's supply chain, thoguh the $399 total shows that at least the telecom's customer information server was accessed to grant the subsidized price.
AT&T reiterated that it is not granting pre-orders before the Apple-mandated start time, noting that the incident is likely a isolated case.