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iPhone 5C up for pre-order next week, no pre-order for 5S

If you fancy an iPhone 5C you can pre-order it next Friday -- but if you want a 5S you have to join the queue on launch day.

Want to order your new iPhone early? If you fancy an iPhone 5C you can pre-order it from next Friday -- but if you want an iPhone 5S you'll have to join the queue on launch day like everyone else.

The iPhone 5S is the new top-of-the-range smart phone from Apple, joined by the colourful plastic-encased and cheaper 5C. They're headed to shops shelves and all the major networks -- EE, O2, Orange, Three, T-Mobile and Vodafone -- on 20 September. But the date you can place your order and expect to get your hands on the phone depends on which of the pair you choose.

You can pre-order the cheaper 5C any time from Friday 13 September onwards, giving you a whole week to order at your leisure, safe in the knowledge your new phone should -- in theory -- arrive at your door on release day.

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But the 5S is not available for pre-order. That means if you want a brand spanking new 5S on day one, you have to make a trip to your nearest Apple Store, Carphone Warehouse, Phones 4U or other phone shop to buy in person.

But if you order your 5S online, you'll have to wait a few days, or potentially -- heaven forfend! -- weeks for the 5S to actually arrive in your hands.

All the networks

EE, Orange, Three, T-Mobile and Vodafone have all confirmed that you can pre-order your 5C from them on 13 September, with the 5S only available from 20 September. O2 is still to confirm the exact dates but is likely to say the same.

Why is the iPhone 5C available to pre-order but not the iPhone 5S? Perhaps Apple wants to push the 5C, which is after all a new and untried proposition for the company. Perhaps Apple wants to ensure queues on launch day. Perhaps Apple just hasn't built enough 5S phones. Whatever the reason, my concern is that the lack of pre-order could lead to a rush of orders for the 5S on day one, and could cause a stock shortage leading to longer wait times for delivery.

If the dates change we'll keep you posted. We'll also be updating our handy guide to iPhone 5S and iPhone 5C UK prices and release dates as more details are announced, so keep it CNET.

What do you think of the pre-order situation? Will you order an iPhone, or is it way too expensive? Tell me your thoughts in the comments or join the queue on our Facebook page.