Want an iPhone 5s? Line Up and Good Luck

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Apple is only hours away from online orders for the iPhone 5s in the United States, and countries where online sales have already begun are showing 7-10 day wait times. If you don't want to wait that long, line up early at your local Apple Store because it looks like retail inventory will be limited, too.

iPhone 5s inventory may be hard to come by Friday morningiPhone 5s inventory may be hard to come by Friday morning

The Mac Observer contacted several Apple Stores to ask about iPhone 5s inventories, and we consistently got the same story: They wouldn't tell us what type of inventory they had, but the phones were already in the store waiting for Friday's 8AM local time launch. The stores also said they would be using the same in-line reservation cards to dole out iPhones on a first come first serve basis.

Every store we spoke with said that lines were already forming outside their stores regardless of whether or not the malls permitted it.

Our sources that were willing to be more candid said that Apple's own stores will have limited numbers of iPhone 5 units on hand in the morning, and that other retailers have been receiving surprisingly small shipments -- a fact that our own Dave Hamilton heard from his local AT&T store. Many locations won't have any gold models -- or only a small handful -- in stock, and that orders for those models will take about 10 days to arrive.

While Apple isn't officially confirming that iPhone 5s availability will be very constrained, the fact that the company didn't offer pre-order sales hints at just that.

It looks like the black space gray models will be easiest to come by on Friday, but in this case "easiest" may be a relative term. Assuming inventory is as low as it appears now, it's very likely there will be plenty of disappointed shoppers waiting in line Friday morning.

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I lined up at 8AM at a major electronics store in Yokohama, Japan and was able to get a Black 64Gb 5s at noon. Other colors and capacities were all sold out and you could make a reservation for one for when the new inventory arrives.



International news media, including the BBC, reminded viewers of the global iPhone short supply and to expect disappointment.

I had planned to order my 5s online while out here on the road. Being in Geneva, I was going to have to order at 0900 local. However, I had a meeting with someone at WHO, so had to pass on ordering immediately. Once I arrived here in London, I went online, ordered my 5s (Space Grey, 64GB) and had a choice of getting it 7 -10 business days on either Apple or at&t. I went with the latter because they provided an overnight shipping option, and I have to travel again later this week.

Point is, at least for the 64GB grey, they haven’t sold out as yet. I was able to order mine without a hitch and from a choice of vendors. To be clear, they’ve taken my money; now let’s see if they deliver as promised.

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