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FAQ: It's the iPhone 5

Gregg Keizer | Sept. 14, 2012
The rumor mill nailed most of the iPhone 5 features, but that doesn't mean there aren't questions about it. Here's our answers to those questions.

Apple yesterday unveiled the iPhone 5, the nameplate everyone wanted last year before they settled, sometimes only after a lot of griping, for the iPhone 4S.

The rumor milled nailed most of the feature set -- one analyst said Apple could have saved everyone time by simply noting, 'It's all you thought it was, no surprises, have a good time' -- including LTE, a 4-in. screen and a bigger battery.

That doesn't mean there aren't questions.

And answers. Here is our first set for the iPhone 5, including the nitty-gritty of when, where and how much.

When can I get one? Friday, Sept. 21.

That's the on-sale day at Apple's retail stores, as well as the outlets of its carrier partners. It will also be the delivery date for iPhone 5s ordered during the pre-sales stretch.

Apple will open its stores at 8 a.m. local time. The three carriers in the U.S. will also begin selling the iPhone 5 on Sept. 21, but none -- AT&T, Verizon or Sprint -- has yet said when it will open the doors that day.

Can I pre-order? Of course ... what would an iPhone launch be without lots of people up at the middle of the night refreshing their browsers every second or two?

Pre-sales start on Friday, Sept. 14, when Apple and carriers start accepting orders at their websites (and presumably, by phone too).

Sprint said it would begin taking pre-orders starting at 12:01 a.m. PT Friday, so it's likely that's the kick-off time for everyone. (That means the virtual doors open at 3:01 a.m. ET, 8:01 a.m. in London, 9:01 a.m. in Paris and Berlin, 3:01 p.m. in Hong Kong, 4:01 p.m. in Tokyo, and 5:01 p.m. in Sydney.)

The timing fits last year, when Verizon kicked off pre-sales for the iPhone 4S at just after midnight PT on the designated day. Sprint, Apple and AT&T's websites started taking orders, in that order, over the next hour, although Apple's e-store had the most problems handling the traffic.

What's it cost? Assuming you're eligible for the subsidized prices because your existing contract is up or nearly so, you're switching carriers, or buying a smartphone for the first time, the 5 will cost $199 (16GB), $299 (32GB) or $399 (64GB).

That last configuration is the second year in a row that 64GB has held the Big Dog spot. Apple hasn't shown any inclination to boost the storage capacity further, even though RAM is a cheap way for the company to add another $100 to its prices.

How do I find out if I qualify for the iPhone 5 at the subsidized price? Steer to your carrier's site first. Apple's website will also do an eligibility check when you place an order.


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