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Summary:

Apple isn’t offering a presale for the iPhone 5s, so if you want it when it comes out on September 20, you’re going to have to wait in line for it.

Apple iPhone 5S 3 colors
photo: Apple

When I first read reports that people were already camped out, waiting in line for the iPhone 5s last week, I thought they were crazy. Why wait in line when you can just preorder the phone and have it show up in your mailbox on opening day? It turns out there’s a snag in that plan this time around — the iPhone 5s isn’t available for preorder.

This means that if you want to get your hands around the 64-bit, fingerprint sensing iPhone 5s on Friday, September 20, you’re going to have to get it in person, either at the Apple store or the carrier store of your choice, all of which are likely to be mobbed with fervent buyers. This is different than the last few iPhone releases, in which the phone was made available for preorder online about a week before it became available in stores. Back then, most people waiting in line were either there for the fun of it or trying to buy a bunch of phones for resale.

On the other hand, if it’s the iPhone 5c you’re after, you’ll be able to preorder the phone starting Friday. It’s unclear why the iPhone 5s isn’t being made available early, though Apple Insider suggests it might be due to supply constraints.

Whatever the reason, one thing is clear: If you want the iPhone 5s, and you want it the day it comes out, you’re going to have to do a little more work for it than usual. I still think those people camping out now are crazy. But at least they’re probably guaranteed a new phone come September 20.

  1. Not doing pre orders won’t help any supply constraints, those who want the phone bad enough to pre order it are the same ones who are going to show up on day one to get it. So either way those phones are going to be sold. The reason that Apple has decided not to do pre orders is to increase the size of their lines in an attempt to buck the trend of people starting to think that IPhones aren’t in high demand (AKA aren’t as cool as they used to be). You may think this is just a theory but watch CNN and Fox and ABC news the day they go on sale, you will hear the phrase “look at the size of that line”. Then there will be some statement from apple about the overwhelming amount of people who showed up to buy the phones and how it was a record day. BUT what you won’t hear on the news and you certainly not from apple is “OH the reason they all had to walk down here is because they couldn’t preorder”. Thus the average Joe will see that huge line and think “Well that must be the best phone ever look at all those people” and go buy it. Apple has worked off its cool factor for a long time and its beginning to dwindle. The IPhone 5 got 2 million preorders in the first 24 hours, but nobody SAW those people pre order so it didn’t help apples image, but just imagine all those people added to the lines.

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  2. Apple want the lines around the block, it is deemed good advertising. Having a preorder for another nip and tuck phone is threatening those lines, which Apple want to avoid, i believe it is nothing to do with supply issues.

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  3. There will be pre-orders. They just haven’t announced it yet. But don’t let that get in the way of a typical Gigaom link baiting headline.

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    1. No, there won’t. They’ve already announced it won’t be available for preorder. Good job living up to your screen name though.

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  4. Well, it’s the best iPhone yet, but it’s not the same stupendous revolution the first one was. As usual these past releases people with the latest model that came out previously (iPhone 5, in this case) need to do some soul searching on whether or not to upgrade immediately in the first place.

    iOS7 is the showstopper here and iPhone people will get that for free.

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  5. It amazes me that people work so hard to seem unimpressed with the iPhone. Show me another fingerprint sensor phone with a 64 bit OS. Apple practically invented smartphones, (I’ve literally had one of EVERY smart phone since the Treo and Kyocera) and everybody and their brother has copied them. Always on the forefront? Of course not, how could they be. My new Android phone sits in the drawer, still out-classed by my old iPhone. You don’t want one, don’t buy one. But all the carefully practiced yawning is just childish.

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    1. Well fingerprint sensor android came out years ago. 64 bit? Yah maybe when its actually necessary and used by apps people will care. Neither of these technologies are revolutionary. Get a clue

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