iPhone 5 Pre-Orders begin today. Here’s what you need to know.
Friday, September 14 is preorder day for the new iPhone 5. The phone features LTE, a faster processor, larger screen, moderately improved camera and other new features. You can read more about it here. The iPhone 5 release date is Friday, September 21, when it hits stores and consumers. If last year’s 4S rollout was any indication, a limited number of them (huge, but limited) will be available on that day. To ensure you don’t have to wait several weeks to get yours, you should pre-order yours right now. Go!
Here’s what you’ll need, what you can expect, and some of my own experiences in getting a previous upgrade. Read through for links and tips that have worked for me and others in the past.
IMPORTANT! These are just tips. We are not responsible if they don’t work for you. Just because they’ve worked in the past is no guarantee they’ll till work today. In the end, you just might have to wing it.
If you are one of the lucky AT&T users with a grandfathered “unlimited” data plan and want to keep it, first head over to Gizmodo and read this article by Kyle Wagner before you do anything. Click here to read “How to Buy an iPhone 5 Without Losing Your Unlimited Data Plan” on Gizmodo. Read it now before you do anything. It could save you heartaches, headaches and potential surprises when your monthly bill comes.
Preorders start September 14 at 12:01 am, Pacific Time
That’s 3:01 am on the East Coast and bar close here in Dallas/Fort Worth. Apple, Sprint and Verizon will accept pre-orders beginning at midnight tonight. Brew up some Starbucks. It’ll be a long night if you want to be first. And you want to be first. Here’s why….
iPhone 5′s are fulfilled on a first-ordered, first-shipped basis. Apple has a limited number of the devices to ship on the first weekend. Once they run out, they’ll start bumping your delivery date, and that date starts to slip fast. Ordering an iPhone 5 in the afternoon could mean you don’t get your device until the end of September. Ordering on Saturday could mean a delay of a week or two. You could wait in line on September 21 at an Apple Store, but there’s no guarantee they’ll have any units left before you finally make it into the building.
How to Pre-Order Your iPhone 5
The easiest way to preorder your iPhone 5 is through the Apple Store app. It’s free and you can get it right here ( ). It’s fast. It’s easy. It’s painless. And for the last several iPhone updates, it’s had none of the server bogdown, connection resets, and wait that you may find on a website.
You can upgrade through Apple, AT&T, Sprint and Verizon here in the US. Here are links to the preorder pages:
In other countries, check your service provider for links and details.
Contract pricing is the same as the 4S. Unlocked pricing is $200 higher this time around. Be prepared to pay $199-$849 for a 16GB, $299-$949 for a 32GB, and $399-$649 or more for a spacious 64GB (unlocked pricing for the 64GB iPhone 5 has not yet been announced by Apple). Apple and AT&T will both put a hold on your credit card for the full amount which then charges when the device ships. I suspect that Verizon, Sprint, and other providers will all do the same.
If you bought your iPhone 4S on its first day on AT&T, then you’re several months short of the 24 month contract renewal to be able to upgrade at the two, three or four hundred dollar level. If you spend a lot of money with AT&T and your account is in good standing, AT&T is offering an early upgrade for a reduced rate, but you’ll still have to pay a premium. Full discounted upgrade pricing won’t apply for you until May, 2013. By then, you might as well wait for the next iPhone. If you’ve been late on your bill, you may have to wait a while or pay a higher, less-subsidized price for a new iPhone 5.
For example, I bought my iPhone 4S in October, 2011 when they were first released and signed a two year service contract. To get the upgrade to the 32 GB iPhone 5, will cost me $549 — $250 more than regular upgrade pricing but still a $400 discount off buying the phone outright.
If you are a Verizon US customer and bought the iPhone 4 when it was released, call a Verizon dealer or check the Apple Store app for your eligibility. The first Verizon iPhone 4 users should now be eligible for upgrade pricing with a contract renewal.
Tips For Getting an Earlier, Cheaper Upgrade on AT&T
In the US, AT&T, Verizon, and Sprint users can check their upgrade eligibility on the Apple website.
If you’re like me and immediately went to the Apple site to check upgrade eligibility, you were probably informed that you did not qualify immediately for any upgrade pricing, and qualified for reduced iPhone 5 pricing — $400 off the full price.
Go to an AT&T Mobility Store to order an upgrade. Not an authorized reseller, but an actual, company-owned store. I found out that AT&T Store employees may have better luck in getting you better upgrade pricing. Plus, you get to plead your case in front of a real live person, not just a voice or two on the phone.
You can try to call AT&T Customer Service to request an early upgrade. If your account is in good standing, they might be able to move your upgrade eligibility date up a couple of months, making you eligible for the $400 discount now, even though you still have time left on your current AT&T contract. In the past, I had better luck talking face-to-face with some great folks at an AT&T Store. I found them more eager to help.
Good luck! There’s no reason these tips should not work with other providers as well.
Should You Upgrade to the iPhone 5?
Read about the iPhone 5 and all the new features in LoFi’s Apple iPhone 5 Event Recap here.
If you’re updating from an iPhone 4 or older, the new iPhone 5 camera will be an awesome and exciting upgrade for you. Those of us upgrading from an iPhone 4S will have to justify the upgrade because the rest of the phone is faster and pretty cool.
If history is any guide, there will be huge lines and extremely long waits when the iPhone 5 streets next Friday. Preorder now to minimize any delays. Good luck!
Got any other tips for upgrading? How about iPhone owners in other countries? Share your tips below.
Disclosure: These are my recommendations for ordering a new iPhone 5. I hope they work for you, but we are not responsible if they don’t. Life In LoFi gets no compensation of any kind from the links or purchase recommendations in this post.