Are you looking to grab a new iPhone 5S on launch day? Are you ordering online on 9/20? Be prepared, because there's a good chance that supplies are low.
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Want an iPhone 5S on September 20? Better get in line early.


In case you haven’t already seen, Apple has unveiled the iPhone 5C and 5S, which will both hit stores and be available online on September 20. Despite having the same release date, there’s a big difference between how the two models will be sold that a lot of fellow bloggers missed right after Apple’s event ended. While the 5C will be available for preorder on September 13, there is no mention of the iPhone 5S. That’s not an accident.

This is a curious move. There have been several occasions in the past when Apple did not offer preorders for iPhones, leading to launch day lines and jammed phone lines at stores. However, it’s a little odd for an “S” release. The iPhone 5S share so many similarities with the iPhone 5, that you’d think Apple would have plenty of stock on hand. The 3GS and 4GS were both plentiful on launch day, as I recall.

However, the lack of a preorder for the iPhone 5S may line up with earlier rumors that warned us to expect shortages at launch. This is most likely due to low early yields in and stocks of the new model’s fingerprint sensor. Apple has had these kinds of yield issues before with the Retina screens in the iPhone 4 and iPad 3, the first to include them. So, this is nothing new. It just feels that way since we have two iPhone models now, one of which will be available in higher quantities and the other not.

Making the preorder available for the iPhone 5C is actually a smart move. Being that it is a new model with good specs and that is available in several colors, there is a good chance that many users on the fence will decide to go with the 5C to avoid hassles. However, for those of you like me, who will be wanting a 5S on launch day, prepare yourself. If there isn’t enough stock for Apple to do a preorder and have enough for launch day sales, then plan accordingly.

1. If at all possible, get to an Apple Store. They always have the most plentiful stock, especially of the less popular sizes and colors.

2. If retail is your only choice, be there well before the store opens, because many carrier stores and smaller retailers like Radio Shack will have only a handful of 5Ss in stock.

3. Best Buy is probably your best retail option, as they usually get a more iOS devices per store than other outlets. Carrier stores are probably the second best option.

4. If you are going to place an online order on 9/20, be sure to get up and be ready right when the Apple Store first accepts orders. This has been 12 AM Pacific for the last few launches, which REALLY sucks for those on the east coast. However, if you don’t want to wait 2 weeks to a month for your 5S, be up and ready at 3AM Eastern…if Apple follows their normal procedure.

So, just a word of warning. If you really want an iPhone 5S, be ready to jump as soon as they are available on September 20. If you are still undecided, and lining up super early isn’t your style, there’s always the iPhone 5C online on September 13. You’ll still want to get up, but at least you won’t have to leave the house.

We’ll be sure to let you know what time preorders will begin on both days, so stay tuned.

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  • DavidB23

    Remember for the iphone 5 there were hardly any lines and plenty of stock. Our local best buy never ran out since launch day. You could walk in and get one any day with no lines; even on launch day! Apple tries to create demand, but iphone demand seems to be getting less each year.

    • Renkman

      That just simply isn’t true. They continue to sell more and more iPhones on launch weekends than the previous year. Last year they broke their opening weekend record from the previous year, which broke the record from the year before that. More and more people often take advantage of the ability to pre-order their phones online, so it will be interesting to see how no pre-orders for the 5S will influence store inventory. I’m sure regionally there are always fluctuations in demand, and that will always be the case. But demand in general has been more each year based on sales numbers not less.

    • Mark Wheeler

      I can also tell you his is false.. When I got my 4s on launch day I got to my att store and they only had 1 or 2 left …. 15 min after opening. Some ppl just have this ” I want to see apple fail ” derangement issue. Like me saying I hope ford goes out of business cuz I bought a Nissan.

      • Scrotum Repair

        Paranoid much?

        • Mark Wheeler

          Do you read phandroid? Lol they’re always talking about how they can’t wait til apple goes bankrupt in 5 years. And don’t get me started on their reaction to Steve jobs death

        • Scrotum Repair

          You have to admit Jobs was a tool.

        • Mark Wheeler

          Ill admit he had his flaws as every person does, but I don’t think it’s cool to celebrate his death like he was hitler.

        • Scrotum Repair

          OK….You truly are paranoid. Just how many people actually did as you described?

        • Mark Wheeler

          Google it and go to image search. You’ll find countless images
          And plenty mocking his death I ain’t paranoid I’ve just seen the darkest corners of the Internet lol.

        • Toilet Seat Wipe

          I agree……You are paranoid.

        • Cesar Ortiz

          You have some serious problems dude, everything in the internet is a joke, Why should it be taken so serious..?

    • James Rogers

      Apple had a huge preorder last year, which made the lines on launch day unnecessary. Also, despite the new design, they evidently didn’t have problems cranking them out in high volumes. Supposedly, the tiny and complex fingerprint sensor is an entirely different matter.

  • Scrotum Repair

    I don’t get the waiting in line. So what you have to wait 2 weeks. Just what will happen in that 2 weeks time if you don’t have a new device?

    • James Rogers

      Here’s one very practical thing that will happen- the trade in value of any existing iPhone will plummet. I got a good trade in price for my old iPhone 4 that my son has been using (we do the hand me down system at my house). Those quotes last for 30 days. If I don’t get a new phone, I can’t send that one in. If I slip past the date, I’ll drop $30-$50 waiting a week or two after launch.

      With so many retail outlets also doing trade ins now, I can assire you this will be a be on the minds of some buyers who know what they’re doing.

      • Scrotum Repair

        Sounds like a first world problem. If $30 – $50 is going to break your bank, you need to be spending your money elsewhere.

        • James Rogers

          A little melodramatic, aren’t we? $30-$50 won’t break my bank, and I won’t stand in line for it, either. I get paid mire than that in a hour of time at my job. But it’s sure as hell is worth getting up at 2AM to order on the 20th and save it. Giving away money for pure laziness and convenience is the height of stupidity, no matter what “world” you live in.

        • Scrotum Repair

          Why so butt hurt? You’re the one that brought up saving $30 – $50 by taking advantage of the trade in program. You then retaliate by stating that you get paid “mire” than that in an hour at your job(I can only imagine it involves removing your pants). Seems to me you are compensating for something…..Or you are one of those out of control fanboys, sucked in to the vortex of the Apple cult.

        • Ryan

          The rich get rich by saving money whenever possible.

        • Scrotum Repair

          But how do you earn money standing in line all day?

        • Michael Toong

          Hello. shut the hell up. 🙂

    • Quinn

      Also you’re apart of something. It’s the same with any electronic devices. There’s a reason people line up for video game consoles days before the launch dates. Not to mention black Friday sales. With the time you wait, sure, you could make more working at your job. But why not use an off day to save a bit?

      • Scrotum Repair

        If I take a day off, it’s to rest, not spend it with a bunch of other basement dwellers waiting on a device just slightly different than the one I waited in line for a year ago.

        • Quinn

          If you equate your preferences to those of others, you’re never going to be able to understand why people do what they do. Also, they might not have lined up last year like you did. I have an iPhone 3GS, the home button is gone, and the screen is so cracked that you can see the innards of the phone. So yeah, I personally wouldn’t mind spending my day off waiting a bit.

        • Scrotum Repair

          Hey, whatever makes you feel less like a mind controlled drone.

        • Paul Gregory

          Dude, you’ve made over 100 comments on this website and you’re accusing Quinn of being a ‘mind controlled drone’? Get a life, if he wants to wait in life let him, no one is getting on you for repairing scrotums or doing whatever you enjoy doing.

        • Scrotum Repair

          What does post count have to do with this?

          Damn this planet has some stupid humans.

  • Colton Williams

    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.

    • James Rogers

      Interesting theory. I would agree if the 5C were also available for lineup and order on the same date. If Apple wanted huge lines, both would be that way. The 5C stands to be very popular here in the US with the cheaper price and its color options.

      I also disagree on this tactic helping alleviate the problem of smaller stock. Apple knows that some fence-sitters will go ahead and get the 5C on preorder. They also know that a number of people can’t or won’t line up because of work, health, or because the just don’t want to. Them placing their orders on the 20th gives Apple more time to deliver. Apple will have a small number that will deliver in 3-5 days. Then the delivery dates will slip. It spreads the demand. I’ll probably have to do this myself, because I can’t take off a day of work just to stand in line.

  • rwickward

    So when can we expect the new Samsung commercial poking fun at the iSheep waiting in line?

    • Android1031

      Best commercials lol