Apple Store offline ahead of expected rush for iPhone 5C

iPhone maker apparently preparing for expected midnight crush of preorders for the new lower-cost smartphone.

Screenshot by Lance Whitney/CNET

Per Apple's standard operating procedure before a major product offering, the home page for the company's online store on Thursday evening displayed the familiar Schwarzenegger-esque "We'll be back" message.

The company is apparently preparing for the onslaught of preorders for the new iPhone 5C that will begin at 12:01 a.m. PT on Friday. Wireless carriers Verizon and Sprint have also set up Web pages announcing the preorders and the starting time for Apple's new lower-cost smartphone.

While the iPhone 5C will go on sale in a host of countries around the world tomorrow, only the 5C is available for preorder. Early adopters of the 5S will have to wait until the device launches on September 20 for the opportunity to pick one up.

Nearly identical to the original iPhone 5, with the same processor and camera hardware, the iPhone 5C is being offered in a rainbow of five bright colors of polycarbonate (aka plastic).

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