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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Steven Musil is the night news editor at CNET News. He's been hooked on tech since learning BASIC in the late '70s. When not cleaning up after his daughter and son, Steven can be found pedaling around the San Francisco Bay Area. Before joining CNET in 2000, Steven spent 10 years at various Bay Area newspapers.
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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