Apple Store down ahead of iPhone 5 preorders

Apple's online store goes offline as the company apparently retools the site for its much-anticipated next-generation smartphone.

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The Apple Store is currently down, as iPhone 5-hungry consumers get ready to place preorders for the next-generation smartphone.

As is tradition before major Apple releases, visitors to the online store looking to purchase phones, MP3 players, or Macs are instead greeted with a message saying, "We'll be back." The downtime allows Apple to retool the site for the new product -- in this case, the much-anticipated iPhone 5.

The new phone, which was unveiled yesterday at an event in San Francisco, will feature a 4-inch Retina display and support for 4G LTE service. The iPhone 5 is expected to hit consumers' hands on September 21.

In addition to Apple's online store, the iPhone 5 is also available for preorder starting tomorrow morning at Wal-Mart , which is selling the long-awaited phone for $189.97, as opposed to the $199 price tag offered by Apple.

The company also revealed its prices for unlocked iPhones -- devices unencumbered by carrier contracts -- although those offers are not expected to be available to consumers for a few weeks.

See CNET's full coverage of Apple's iPhone 5 event

 

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