Apple is skipping official iPhone 5s pre-orders and from the looks of it so are retailers, but we just got word from a Target employee that the company is now taking iPhone 5s reservations.
What’s the difference between an iPhone 5s pre-order and a reservation?
While a iPhone 5s pre-order would guarantee you a phone on September 20th, the official iPhone 5s release date, a reservation is simply reserving a place in line for whatever stock arrives on the first day.
Starting today you can go to a Target retail store and reserve the iPhone 5s with a $25 Target gift card purchase. This gets your name in for an iPhone 5s model of your choosing, but does not guarantee an iPhone 5s.
Read: Best iPhone 5S Cases
Assuming this works the same way as previous years, users are basically reserving a spot in line, so if you are the 11th person to put your name down for a gold iPhone 5s 16GB model on Verizon and Target gets 12 in stock on release day, the store should hold one for you.
This is similar to the way Best Buy did iPhone pre-sales last year, which left us without an iPhone on release day, but helped many users get a new iPhone without waiting in line.
Target lists the iPhone 5s online in 16GB and 32GB options for Verizon, AT&T and Sprint. We expect these are the only models they will take reservations for in store, as they are not selling the iPhone 5s online.
Even though many Target locations are open 24 hours, it would be surprising to see them sell the iPhone 5s before 8 AM local time on September 20th.
Because Apple is not taking any iPhone 5s pre-orders shoppers can expect longer lines on the release day and possibly short supply at many stores. Apple plans to increase the number of iPhones sold at Apple Store locations, so expect more stock in more sizes and colors at the official Apple Store locations, as well as longer lines.
Apple confirmed in a press release that Verizon, T-Mobile, AT&T and Sprint will sell the iPhone 5s in stores on release day, as will authorized Apple wireless resellers. This includes Target, Walmart, Radio Shack, Best Buy and others.
The iPhone 5s is an upgrade to the iPhone 5 with a faster processor, a new camera with many upgrades and the Touch ID fingerprint sensor which unlocks the iPhone and acts as an iTunes password for App purchases.
Apple started iPhone 5c pre-orders last night, which did not sell out.