Whether you were among the masses following Apple’s iPhone event live, are just looking to replace your current iPhone, or even considering buying an iPhone for the very first time, we’ve got the details you need to help you decide where and how to purchase your new iPhone.
Pre-Order and Wait
Launch day pre-orders of the iPhone 5C sold out within a few days, and pre-orders were never offered for the iPhone 5S ahead of its launch. Pre-orders for the iPhone 5C remain open, while pre-orders of the 5S will begin tonight at 12:01AM Pacific. The pre-orders WILL sell out VERY fast – but if you don’t have to get your iPhone on launch day, pre-ordering is still a great option. You’ll avoid standing in lines, and you won’t have to take a chance about whether or not that Apple Store or other retailer has new iPhones in stock.
Line Up on Launch Day, Or Check Back at Stores
If you do want an iPhone on launch day, your only option at this point is to line up and wait for the iPhone to go on sale on Friday. Make sure to check out our iPhone 5S and 5C Launch Day Survival Guide for tips and tricks to help make sure you get the device you want!
It might also be worth waiting a few days after the launch, and checking back at Apple Stores and other retail stores – you could still end up getting your iPhone before many who pre-ordered, without having to wait in long lines!
Apple Retail Store Versus Everyone Else
The Apple Retail Store is generally going to be your best bet for being able to obtain a new on launch day. The Apple stores have the longest lines, but also are the least likely to run out of product. In addition, future problems with your iPhone and potential returns tend to be much less of a headache if you purchase from Apple directly. Lines can take a number of hours to get through, so be sure you have the time if you go this route.
Purchasing from other stores, such as Target, Best Buy, Radio Shack, and Walmart can also be feasible options, but these stores often receive very limited stock. Best Buy, with it’s growing partnership with Apple, is likely to have more iPhones available than Wal-Mart or Target.
If you live in a smaller town, or are able to get to another retailer that doesn’t have a very high volume of customers, you may be able to get one more quickly and easily.
AT&T, Verizon, and Sprint Stores
You may also be able to buy a device directly from an official AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, or Verizon corporate-managed retail store. The advantage to this may be shorter lines as well. Further, some customers who buy their iPhone data plan through their business will be able to set it up right in the store. Apple has not always been able to set up iPads and iPhones on corporate accounts, while they can always do so with consumer accounts.
Check out our iPhone 5S and 5C launch page for our full assortment of tips, guides, apps, resources, and other coverage!