Tonight (technically tomorrow morning) at 12:01am Pacific Time, Apple will officially begin allowing pre-orders for their iPhone 5c. There are more places than ever to place a pre-order, and a healthy degree of uncertainty about which will work best for you. In that spirit, we’ve put together a handy guide of which retailers are offering pre-orders, and when those pre-orders will begin.
Unfortunately, is still appears there will be no pre-orders for the iPhone 5S – but for those of you who want Apple’s slightly cheaper and much more colorful option, here are the options available to you!
Ordering directly from Apple’s online store is typically the easiest way to pre-order your device once the ordering process begins – and the best way to ensure that you are guaranteed a device on launch day (or some future date if and when those launch day pre-orders sell out). Pre-orders for the iPhone 5C will officially begin at Apple’s online store at 12:01AM Pacific (3 AM Eastern) on Friday morning.
Making sure you’re ready the instant orders begin is the best way to ensure you get the color and capacity you want delivered to your door on the 20th – pre-orders tend to sell out extremely fast. And, as the saying goes, if you snooze, you lose.
AT&T, Verizon, Sprint, and T-Mobile
Each of Apple’s major U.S. carrier partners will also offer pre-orders for the iPhone 5C at the exact same time as Apple…at least, theoretically. Occasionally, one or more of the carrier servers will go down due to the increased traffic. It’s also worth noting that carriers will receive less stock of each iPhone model than Apple’s own online store.
That being said, there are many customers who are required to order from their carrier due to being on a corporate account, or having certain requirements attached to their wireless plans requiring more direct carrier involvement. The pre-orders will take place at the four U.S. carrier websites for the iPhone 5C, as listed below.
In addition to the Apple Online Store and carrier stores, Best Buy will also be holding pre-orders. Unfortunately, the pre-order process at Best Buy isn’t as convenient – in order to make a pre-order, you must go into a physical Best Buy retail store and sign up to have a device held for you. You’ll also have to purchase a $50 Best Buy gift card to hold your spot in line. You’ll also have to return on the 20th to pick up your pre-order.
If you can’t catch the online pre-orders this time around, however, this might be your best bet.
Target and Radio Shack
Radio Shack and Target have both announced that they will be offering iPhone 5C pre-orders – but like best buy, the pre-orders must be done in person at a physical retail store. Both Target and Radio Shack are offering the devices at the usual $99 and $199 price points with a 2-year service contract. For best results, you may want to call ahead to ensure that your local store will be taking pre-orders, as it can vary from location to location.
Walmart is also getting in the iPhone 5C pre-order spirit – but they offer an advantage that nobody else does. Rather than the typical $99 and $199 price points, Wal-mart is offering a significant discount on the iPhone 5S, with price points of $79 for a 16GB model, and $189 for a 32GB model. As with Best Buy, Target, and Radio Shack, Walmart’s pre-orders will take place in-store only, and apply to AT&T, Verizon, or Sprint models (but not T-Mobile).
For those residing outside of the U.S., Apple’s website may in fact be your only option. We’d also advice checking with local Apple-authorized retailers and wireless carriers for details on if and when they will offer pre-orders alongside Apple.