Early tomorrow morning, Apple will put its new iPhones on sale for the first time, ushering in the long awaited iPhone 5S release date. For those thinking about buying the iPhone 5S on its release day, we have a few tips that may help the process go a little more smoothly.
Earlier this month, after months and months of rumors, Apple announced two brand new iPhones in the iPhone 5S and the iPhone 5C. The iPhone 5C represents Apple’s addition to the mid-range as it combines a colorful plastic design with a 4-inch Retina Display, Lightning dock, 8MP camera, 4G LTE and iOS 7. It will replace the iPhone 4S at $99.99 on-contract and it will, along with the iPhone 5S, push out the iPhone 5 from Apple’s lineup.
Apple’s iPhone 5C has been up for pre-order since September 13th, giving those who wanted to avoid lines on its September 20th release date, the chance to do so.
The company did not offer iPhone 5S pre-orders ahead of its September 20th release date, meaning, tomorrow will be the first time that buyers will have a chance to pick up the iPhone 5′s true successor.
Apple’s iPhone 5S will be the company’s premium iPhone model and it will be coming with some improvements from last year’s iPhone 5. Chief among them, a choice of three colors rather than two, an A7 processor, a brand new 8MP camera, and a fingerprint reader that will work with Touch ID to help prevent theft.
The device will, like the iPhone 5C, be heading to AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile and Verizon. Those carriers, along with Apple, will be putting the iPhone 5S up for order starting at midnight PST, and from the looks of things, the iPhone 5S release date could be a bit chaotic.
Apple is reportedly dealing with iPhone 5S shortages that could make tomorrow a hectic day for those looking to buy the company’s brand new iPhone. Throw in the fact that there was no pre-order and the fact that iPhone release dates are always a mess and we have a recipe for disaster.
For those who are thinking about heading straight in the iPhone 5S release date storm, we wanted to share some tips with those that plan to buy the iPhone 5S tomorrow or in the near future.
The first rule of the iPhone 5S release date is not to not talk about the iPhone 5S release date but it’s to come prepared. What we mean by that is, don’t head into the ordering process without important information and don’t head into it not knowing what you’re going to buy.
Instead, gather up any online log in information, Apple ID, credit card information, the last four digits of the account holders social security number and get those somewhere near a computer or near your work gear for the morning. Furthermore, decide on which device and which data plan that you want, before heading in to order.
The last thing that iPhone 5S buyers want, especially when the device is thought to be in short supply, is missing information or indecisiveness. Get the crucial information ready and make a decision. It will be of great benefit not only to those that are in dire need of a new phone tomorrow but for those that simply want their iPhone in a swift manner.
Arrive Sooner Rather Than Later
On top of that, those who are looking to buy tomorrow will want to show up sooner rather than later. It doesn’t matter if it’s online or in-store, buyers will want to show up ahead of time to prepare.
For those that are looking to buy online, showing up early will provide time to navigate through Apple’s web store or a carrier site, something that will help you familiarize before the iPhone 5S goes on sale. This is immensely important, especially if sites are as rickety as they have been during past iPhone release dates.
It sounds creepy, but get acquainted with the ordering process before buying. Things may not have changed much, but for many, it has been awhile since ordering a new smartphone online.
Those that are heading into stores should think about arriving earlier than maybe you really want to arrive. We advise those looking to buy at a retail location to show up four to eight hours ahead of time to get a solid spot in line. Wait any longer than that, and you run the risk of wasting a whole bunch of time before work.
Point is, show up earlier than you think you need to.
Order Online if Possible
If you can, we recommend ordering the iPhone 5S online. While there may be some chaos right around the time the device goes on sale, it won’t be as ridiculous as waiting in line, in the cold, outside of a retail store. Those that are prepared to order will find that websites make it extremely easy to place an order, provided they are online and able to take orders.
Heading down to a store means lines, overworked sales people, and uneven stock. Remember, some stores may have a ton of one iPhone 5S and very few other options. There is always going to be some nonsense when it comes to purchasing an iPhone, it happens when millions are trying to get a new product at the same time, but dealing with that nonsense from the comfort of your home and comfy chair is a far more attractive endeavor.
If Ordering Online, Try Apple First
Those that are going to order online will likely want to make the Apple Store their primary store once orders go online. Typically, Apple’s website is more stable than carrier websites and it’s much easier to navigate. Last year, for example, AT&T site was a train wreck during iPhone 5 pre-orders. Apple’s site was slow, but on the whole, it was far more reliable than AT&T’s or, really, any of the carrier sites.
It’s also a much easier site to navigate, something else that makes it the premier option. Anyone that has ever used Sprint’s website knows how confusing it can be. Apple’s site is as straight forward as humanly possible and it will be the place that iPhone 5S buyers will want to look first, especially if things start going haywire due to heavy traffic.
Great Alternative: Apple Store App
Should things start to hit the fan, and we have no doubt that they will, one of the best places to turn is the Apple Store application that is available on the App Store. The app allows users to easily buy Apple hardware in the same way they would through Apple’s website making it another option for those on iPhone 5S release day.
In the past, we’ve had great success with the Apple Store application. When sites started to buckle under the load during the iPad 3 launch, we were able to stroll into the Apple Store app and very easily purchase one, even while others were having difficulties picking one up for release day.
It’s not guaranteed to be stable but like we’ve said, it has been fantastic in the past, and it’s worth a shot for those that either can’t get to a computer, want to order from bed, or simply don’t trust websites on iPhone release day.
Check Lesser Known Stores
Those that aren’t keen on ordering online, or who simply want the phone in hand tomorrow, will have to go to a physical retail location. Apple Stores are likely going to have the most stock available for those looking to buy, but they will also likely have the longest lines.
iPhone 5S buyers who want an iPhone 5S tomorrow but don’t want to deal with the nonsense of an Apple Store also have the option to go into a carrier retail location to pick them up. Again, like Apple Stores, these tend to be crowded.
We highly recommend going to stores that are off the beaten path. Non-flagship Apple Stores, carrier locations or even mall kiosks as they may have stock available.
If all else fails, head to a Best Buy, RadioShack or Walmart as those could have some stock left as well. Stock might be limited tomorrow, but there will be locations that will have them, even as larger stores sell out. You just need to map it out ahead of time and know where to look.
Don’t Rely on Customer Service
Those who are buying the iPhone 5S may run into some issues either during the ordering process or after the ordering process is complete. Those that do will likely be tempted to try and call the customer service lines for Apple, a carrier or a retail store. We highly, highly recommend avoiding this if possible.
Yes, there are going to be some knowledgeable customer service reps out there. However, more often than not, we’ve gone into live chats and phone calls where the person on the other end either doesn’t know anything or doesn’t know what they’re talking about. We’ve also spent a great deal of time in lines or waiting on hold, only to receive very little information.
Should you run into a problem, try using a crowd-sourcing tool like Twitter. Users with similar problems will likely be sharing their experiences and they may be able to provide answers to those shipping date questions or provide possible fixes for site issues.
Everything tends to work out in the end, we learned that the hard way with our iPhone 5 pre-order last year that saw a number of bumps in the road. Just don’t rely on customer service to make the road any easier to travel.
Alternative Pricing? Don’t Go to Apple
Those who are thinking about buying the iPhone 5S off-contract on a new carrier payment will want to avoid buying from Apple. Imagine camping out for seven hours in front of a store, only to find out that you have to pay $650 up-front for the off contract iPhone 5S with no monthly payment option. That’s what could happen to those that are looking to buy off-contract through Apple.
T-Mobile will be charging $99 down for the T-Mobile iPhone 5S on top of 24 months of payments that will bring the total cost to $648.84. Those buying through Apple directly will incur a $650 dollar charge up front.
Instead of going through Apple, those looking to buy off-contract or through an early upgrade plan like AT&T’s Next or Verizon’s Edge, need to avoid the Apple Store and buy directly through the carrier to take advantage of their pricing.
Plan to Stick Around and Activate
If you plan to buy the iPhone 5s at Verizon you will need to activate it before you leave the store, and we are also hearing that Apple will require users to activate the iPhone 5s before they leave. This may vary from store to store, but we’ve confirmed with a flagship Apple Store in Ohio.
This means you can’t buy an extra iPhone to sell on eBay if you don’t have a line to activate it on. It also means you can’t buy an iPhone for you and for your wife with the plan to set up the second iPhone later when you meet up. In this later case Apple will activate both phones, causing the phones being replaced to go offline. This could be a hassle for some users.
While this is a headache, it is Apple’s attempt to keep the iPhone 5s in stock and prevent resellers from charging hundreds more for an iPhone 5s on Craigslist or eBay.