iPhone 5- the long-awaited smartphone of the year is now open for pre-orders at the online stores. Waiting for this day, many customers who wanted to be amongst the first to bag the smartphone, visited the sites to order, only to remain disappointed.

In preparation of what is expected to be an ambush of traffic, the server at the Apple Store and AT&T online store went down.

Apple site saw a familiar “We’ll be back” sign, which was cycling through different languages. The connected Apple Store iOS app also displayed the same message.

Apple is known to switch off its online sites before launching a new product. The firm however, opened pre-orders for the iPhone 5 at midnight from Apple, Verizon, AT&T, and Sprint stores.

Some markets, however, saw a smooth pre-order process while some sites remained unresponsive.

In the US, the site sections of both Apple and AT&T went down for maintenance.

Verizon’s site was fully functional, unlike Sprint’s, which spent its first half hour at a slow speed, when buyers tried to view the ordering page.

Sprint’s store page showed the sign, “It’s coming.” It also said, “We’re excited and readying the store for your orders. Check back soon to place your pre-order.”

Unlike Apple’s online stores in the US, stores in the UK, Germany, and France responded smoothly to pre-order requests.

In Germany, servers at Deutsche Telekom’s T-Mobile division were slow to respond, but a pre-order page was available. However, users couldn’t place an order as the Web page wouldn’t load.

In the UK, Orange’s online store went offline. T-Mobile UK offered an iPhone 5 pre-order button, but on its online store, the iPhone 5 wasn’t yet actually available.