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Phones

Apple iPhone XS, XS Max preorders kick off, some models sell out

The latest phones from Apple start at $999 for the smaller iPhone XS, and $1,099 for the larger iPhone XS Max.

James Martin/CNET

If you were hoping to get your hands on the premium version of Apple's newest high-end iPhone, you may need to wait a while. 

Preorders for Apple's newest phones began just after midnight Friday, and the larger and more expensive iPhone XS Max designed for Verizon and AT&T in the US appeared no longer available for delivery by launch day, Sept. 21. Many were now available within "1-2 weeks" or more, stretching preorder shipments into October on Apple's online store.

While Apple does leave some clues such as shifting estimated shipping times for preorders, it's hard to tell how well devices actually sell. Preorder availability fluctuates based on how many devices the company can pre-produce ahead of their launch. About a half hour into preorders opening up Friday, many models still appeared to be available for for in-store pickup or to be shipped to customers' homes on launch day. In the past, some iPhone models have sold out in less than 10 minutes. 

This year, the most popular model -- or the one with the least available stock -- appeared to be the most expensive configuration of the iPhone XS Max, Apple's largest phone with 512 GB of storage capacity, costing $1,449. (International pricing for the XS Max starts at £1,049 or AU$1,799 for the 64GB model.) At some points, Apple's website said iterations of that model for Verizon and AT&T customers in the US wouldn't be available until October.

Apple on Wednesday announced a trio of new phones -- the iPhone XR, the iPhone XS and the iPhone XS Max -- in its most important product event of the year. Regardless of which iPhone you choose, you'll end up paying more than ever. The starting price for the iPhone XR, which uses cheaper parts such as an aluminum body and LCD display instead of stainless steel and OLED, is $749. That's up $50 from last year's $699 for the iPhone 8, itself a bump from 2016. 

The iPhone XS, like last year's iPhone X, will set you back $999 for 64GB of storage, $1,149 for 256GB or $1,349 for 512GB. The larger Max costs $1,099 for 64GB, $1,249 for 256GB or $1,449 for 512GB. 

Now playing: Watch this: iPhone XS vs. iPhone XR vs. iPhone XS Max: How to choose
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Apple has been raising its iPhone prices in recent years -- and consumers are still buying. Prices have gone from $649 to the entry level iPhone 7 in 2016 to $1,149 for the largest-capacity, 256GB iPhone X last year. The iPhone XS Max sets a new high price level. 

Apple's third new iPhone this year, the XR, hits stores Oct. 26. Preorders for the device begin Oct. 19.

Not all of Apple's phone launches have gone smoothly. In the past, Apple's website hasn't loaded quickly, and only people accessing its iPhone and iPad app were able to preorder devices when sales began. During last year's iPhone X launch, Apple's app didn't work for about 10 minutes after preorders began. 

Apple, which became the US' first trillion-dollar company in August, has been soaring over the past few years, largely thanks to the success of the iPhone. Apple makes about two-thirds of its revenue from the device, and it also has helped its services businesses -- which includes the App Store and Apple Music -- grow quickly. 

Last year's iPhone X proved to be popular, despite its higher price tag. Apple sold 41.3 million iPhones in its most recent quarter, nearly flat compared to the previous year's 41.03 million but better than some analysts expected. The company said the device was its best-selling iPhone since it hit the market in early November, and it's helped the average selling price of Apple's devices jump above $700. In the fiscal third quarter that ended in June, the average selling price of its iPhones climbed to $724 from $606 a year ago.

In a departure from its regular strategy, Apple no longer will sell its year-old phone, the iPhone X, now that its XS and XS Max are available. 

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