Seems like AT&T is still delivering the excellent customer service for which it is renowned! :D
Mine was "supposed" to ship yesterday. Even got a (wrong) "your order has shipped" email with a tracking number. Called and they said it's still being "processed" in the factory. I demanded they cancel it, since I was told I'd get it shipped yesterday (and I paid for overnight shipping), and they refused to cancel it. We'll see if it gets here today or tomorrow. If it doesn't, I am going to call the credit card company and demand the order be cancelled that way.
When you pre-order a phone on the 7th, that is scheduled to be released on the 9th, logistically speaking, the chances are pretty good it is is not going to get to you on or before the 9th.
The "release" is when it's in stores. It's sent using the same fulfillment system that the stores use. For phone releases, "release" typically means the day that early orderers receive their phones as well.