Where, when, and how to buy the iPhone 5

We have all the information you need to get the iPhone 5 on launch day.

iPhone 5
Apple's new iPhone 5. James Martin/CNET

Now that the iPhone 5 is official, the real fun can begin. Ensuring that you'll be one of the lucky few to have the latest iPhone in your hands at the end of launch weekend can be a challenge.

There are more carriers and retailers selling the newest iPhone on launch day than ever before. We'll continue updating this page with the latest information surrounding the iPhone 5 launch on September 21, and how you can get your hands on it as soon as possible.

Apple

If you're into the whole line-standing, fanfare, and clapping-employee thing, Apple stores will open at 8 a.m. local time on Friday, September 21.

You can preorder through Apple's online store now and get free shipping. However, preordering online might not guarantee early access to your device. People who have preordered iPhones through Apple in the past have typically received them on official launch day -- and occasionally even the day before. However, one CNET worker who preordered through Apple this morning was told his iPhone 5 won't arrive until two weeks after launch day. Set up your preorder now and check your cart to see an expected delivery date.

Existing iPhone customers looking to upgrade can reserve a new iPhone 5 through the Apple Store app on an iOS device. To set up a new line, however, you'll have to go through the online or physical stores.

Carriers

Another option, which might spare you some of the crowds, is to get your new iPhone from your carrier. Not sure which carrier to go with? We make it easy to choose which iPhone carrier is right for you .

New and existing customers can preorder the iPhone 5 from all three major carriers -- Sprint, AT&T, and Verizon Wireless.

However, be warned that two carriers have already pushed back their expected ship dates . AT&T says it will ship the iPhone 5 in 14 to 21 business days, which means some orders could arrive as late as October. Verizon now says the phone will be delivered on September 28.

If you're not willing to wait, you can try your luck at all three carriers' brick-and-mortar stores on September 21. Store hours vary, and some stores are planning to open early that day, so call your local carrier store to see what time they plan to open on launch day.

Lesser-known Cricket has announced the iPhone 5 will be available on September 28 in "select Cricket markets." No further information was given surrounding preorder plans, or what markets would indeed carry the iPhone 5. You can visit mycricket.com/iphone5 for more information as the launch gets closer.

C-Spire, a regional carrier in the U.S., will also be carrying the iPhone 5 beginning on September 28. No further details were given surrounding the timing of the launch. You can visit cspire.com/iphone5 for more information.

Retailers

You might find the least amount of frenzy at one of the various retailers that will be selling the iPhone.

Wal-Mart is accepting preorders in U.S. stores now. You'll get a bit of a discount on the iPhone 5 when ordering from Wal-Mart, with prices starting at $189.97; just over $10 off the retail price from any carrier or directly from Apple.

Best Buy has started accepting preorders for the iPhone 5 in stores. Preorders are typically available in store on launch day, September 21.

According to the Radio Shack Twitter account, you can preorder the iPhone 5 in stores now.

If you live near one of the 1,500 Target stores with a Target Mobile center, you'll be able to reserve your iPhone 5 now. Reservations will be available for in-store pickup on September 21.

For a limited time, members of Sam's Club can preorder a 16GB iPhone 5 for in-store pickup at the company's U.S. warehouse stores on September 21. If preorder inventory is sold out at your chosen location, you'll be placed on a wait list and will be notified when iPhone 5 becomes available at your store. In addition, a limited number of iPhone 5s will be available in-store at 10 a.m. local time on launch day. Note that Sam's Club appears to be offering only the 16GB version at this time.

We will update this post as we get more release details.

Updated: This post has been updated multiple times as launch details have emerged.

 

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