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.