Want an iPhone 5 Right Now? Switch to Verizon, Head to Radio Shack
After waiting a few days for the serious iPhone 5 crush to die down, I stopped in at the University Village Apple Store yesterday to see about picking up a phone, curious to see whether the stories I’d heard about a stressed supply chain were true.
“AT&T?” asked the Apple Store staffer. I nodded. “We’re sold out. You can pre-order online.” I asked if he knew if the U Village AT&T store had any in stock. He did not know, so I walked over and asked the AT&T salespeople.
“Sorry, no, but you can pre-order.”
I should say I don’t understand this use of the word “pre-order.” (The phone is for sale right now, yes? What you’re saying is that I can order it.)
UPDATE: Josh in the comments is correct. Apple also allows you to play a late-evening game, where you can visit the Apple Store online between 10 p.m. and 4 a.m., and if any phones are available, they’ll be offered for sale there. Then they’ll ship your purchase to a physical Apple Store of your choice for pick-up the next day.
How long would it take to get an iPhone that way? 23 days, the salesperson said. That sounds right. Visiting Apple.com, I can choose an AT&T iPhone that is available to ship in “3 to 4 weeks.”
But Milo, the SKU-sniffer for local shopping options, tells me that all that’s needed is to switch to Verizon or Sprint, and head to a Radio Shack or Best Buy, where the hordes of Apple fans fear to tread. The 16GB models are less popular than the 32GB, apparently. (Don’t bother with iPhone5InStock–it’s linkbait.)
UPDATE THE SECOND: But what to do with your old iPhone? A whole ecosystem has sprung up to relieve you of this now-useless appendage, and for a sometimes surprisingly good return. eBay has its Instant Sale option, for instance, if cold, hard cash matters most: “Someone just accepted $140.00 for Apple iPhone 4 16GB Verizon.” Over at Amazon, your iPhone trade-in will net you $170 for the same 16GB iPhone 4–but in Amazon Gift Card credit. Bringing up the rear is Gazelle which will offer you $135 for the same model.