After months of rumors and speculation, Apple finally announced its brand new iPhones, the iPhone 5S and the iPhone 5C, both of which will be touching down in the United States, and elsewhere, on September 20th. Ahead of the iPhone 5S release date, it’s time to take a detailed look at what we know about it already and what we expect from it when it arrives in just a few short days.
Over the course of 2013, we heard quite a bit about Apple’s plans for its new iPhone. Rumors suggested that the company would be unleashing not one, but two new iPhones to bolster its lineup ahead of the holiday shopping season. Rumors suggested that those devices would be the iPhone 5S and iPhone 5C and as it turns out, those rumors were spot on.
Earlier today, Apple announced two brand new iPhones dubbed iPhone 5S and iPhone 5C that will be coming to the United States and in countries around the world. The new iPhones will eliminate the iPhone 5’s presence from Apple’s lineup and will instead be features in an iPhone lineup that boasts a premium iPhone 5S at $199.99, an iPhone 5C at $99.99 and the iPhone 4S as Apple’s free offering.
The iPhone 5S will be the higher-end model and it will be coming with a design similar to the iPhone 5’s aluminum design, an improved camera, A7 processor, fingerprint reader embedded into the home button and more. It’s an incremental update over the iPhone 5, but it’s still an intriguing smartphone option nonetheless.
In addition to confirming the features and pricing, Apple also announce the iPhone 5S release date which is now confirmed for September 20th in the U.S., date that it will share with the iPhone 5C.
This year’s iPhone 5S release shares some things in common with previous iPhone release dates though there are some things that have changed. Here, we breakdown what we know and what we think we know about the upcoming iPhone 5S release date in the United States.
iPhone 5S Release Date: Day One Carriers
The iPhone 5S release date has been confirmed for four major carriers in the United States including AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile and Verizon. AT&T confirmed the arrival of the iPhone 5S on September 20th, offering a canned response that mirrored what Apple announced on stage.
AT&T will offer up the iPhone 5S in six different flavors including the gray, white and gold versions of the iPhone 5S which will arrive in 16GB, 32GB and 64GB form. The prices will remain the usual which means $199.99, $299.99 and $399.99 on-contract.
The carrier has not said whether it will offer the device online though it appears that at the very least, AT&T will offer the device up in its retail stores that are littered across the U.S.
Users who buy through AT&T Next will be able to snag the device with monthly payments though it’s not clear how much AT&T will be charging per month for the iPhone 5S.
Sprint remains silent about the iPhone 5S though it’s clear that it will be getting it come September 20th as well. Apple’s website confirms this to be the case which means that those who are looking to snag unlimited data through the Now Network will likely have a chance to do so come September 20th.
Like AT&T, Sprint has not yet said how it will offer up the iPhone 5S exactly though Apple hints at an appearance in Sprint retail locations. Also like AT&T, the carrier will offer up six different versions of the iPhone 5S with the same price points as the rest of the carriers.
T-Mobile also quietly announced its intention to carry the iPhone 5S on September 20th, something that also has been confirmed by the device’s listing on the Apple Store. It took will offer the device in six different variations though the T-Mobile pricing for these devices will be different than the pricing found on the AT&T, Sprint, and Verizon iPhone 5S models.
The carrier abolished on-contract pricing earlier this year which means that those headed to T-Mobile will be buying the iPhone 5S unsubsidized when it arrives later this month.
T-Mobile will offer the gold, black and white colored iPhone 5S models but pricing for T-Mobile’s iPhone 5S will look like this:
- iPhone 5S 16GB: $649
- iPhone 5S 32GB: $749
- iPhone 5S 64GB: $849
We expect that these prices will come to T-Mobile as well and that users will be able to use T-Mobile Jump, T-Mobile’s early upgrade program, in conjunction with the iPhone 5S.
Verizon confirmed to Gotta Be Mobile that it would start selling the iPhone 5S on September 20th, just like the other carriers. It did not, however, mention whether online sales would be available that day. Whatever the case, those looking to buy through Verizon will find the same release date, colors, and pricing as AT&T and Sprint.
Buyers should also be able to pair the device with Verizon’s Edge plan which is essentially Verizon’s version of T-Mobile’s Jump program in that it allows users to pair monthly payments with the ability to upgrade early.
U.S. Cellular iPhone 5S & Others
U.S. Cellular was expected to deliver the iPhone 5S at launch but as it turns out, the carrier is likely not going to be offering up the iPhone 5S on September 20th.
The first clue is the fact that the carrier is missing from Apple’s website. There is no mention of U.S. Cellular anywhere which should mean that it won’t be involved in the initial iPhone 5S release date.
The other clue is the fact that U.S. Cellular assured Gotta Be Mobile that it would be releasing iPhone products but that it didn’t have anything to share at the moment. If a release was imminent, U.S. Cellular would have shared the information today.
We also didn’t see any other minor carriers confirm their intentions today with suspects like C Spire and Cricket Wireless staying silent about possible iPhone 5S release dates.
Despite the silence, we fully expect U.S. Cellular and other carriers to carry the iPhone 5S, and likely the iPhone 5C, at some point down the road. Last year, we saw C Spire and Cricket Wireless release the iPhone 5 on September 28th, a week after the iPhone 5 release, and it’s possible that we could see something similar happen again.
They just won’t have the iPhone 5S on September 20th.
No iPhone 5S Pre-Orders
In the most bizarre twist of the day, Apple declined to offer pre-orders for the iPhone 5S in the build up to its September 20th release date. In year’s past, we’ve seen Apple and the iPhones various carriers take pre-orders ahead of the device’s release date. Not with the iPhone 5S.
Instead, it looks like Apple is gearing up for a massive retail launch at its Apple Stores and through carrier retail locations. The device will also go on sale on the company’s online store on September 20th, the day that it comes out.
Typically, we’ve seen orders begin at midnight online so we expect that to occur with the iPhone 5S release date, at least online. Those heading into stores should find Apple Stores and carrier locales open a bit early in order to accommodate iPhone 5S and iPhone 5C shoppers.
It’s not entirely clear why Apple got rid of pre-orders, perhaps it wants to drum up attention, perhaps it decided that it didn’t want another debacle like last year’s pre-order. Whatever the case may be, it’s looking like September 20th is going to be the first day to buy the iPhone 5S in the United States, across all four major carriers.
Expect Long Lines
While there should be ample online availability, there will be many people that opt to head to a local Apple Store or carrier store to snag the iPhone 5S on September 20th. And with pre-orders now confirmed to be out of the question, we should see even more people than usual line up outside stores to pick up the new iPhone.
What this means is that there should be massive lines awaiting those that choose to skip an online order in favor of getting the device on the first day of availability. And as we’ve pointed out, there are already some campers who are outside, camping out for the new iPhone. They should be joined in the days between today’s launch and the iPhone 5S’ release date.
No Retail Stores Announced
No pre-orders, no retailers either. The usual suspects like RadioShack and Best Buy remained silent today about the iPhone 5S, a sign that they may not offer orders ahead of time like they did with the iPhone 5.
It’s also not clear if they will offer the iPhone 5S on September 20th or better yet, if they will get the new iPhones at all. Our gut says that they will at some point, but it may not be on September 20th like Apple and the carriers.