The cheaper of the two new iPhones went live for pre-order early, but Apple will not offer the flagship iPhone 5s before its official roll out on September 20. Online orders for the top-tier iPhone will start at 12:01 a.m. Pacific next Friday.
The general consensus for the pre-order difference is that Apple wants to keep up with demand as best it can. Since the iPhone 5c uses similar innards to the iPhone 5, Apple should have no problem keeping up with demand for the device. The iPhone 5s, on the other hand, may see the rapid stock depletion we're used to with fresh iPhones thanks to a new supply chain that includes components such as the M7 "motion coprocessor."
The iPhone 5c, meanwhile, can be preordered Apple's website or directly from any of the four carriers. If you haven't settled on a cellular provider yet, here's a quick breakdown of what to expect from each carrier.
AT&T and Verizon
While the costs of their separate capped data plans may vary, both carriers are offering the iPhone 5c at $99 for the 16GB model and $199 for the 32GB version with a two-year contract. Apple's new mid-range iPhone comes in white, pink, yellow, blue, or green.
Upfront device cost with Sprint is the same as at AT&T and Verizon, but the third largest carrier in the U.S. is still willing to provide unlimited data for iPhone users. Starting at $80 per month for one handset, Sprint offers unlimited voice calls, data, and text messages as part of its "Unlimited, My Way" shared data plan.
LTE fans should note that the iPhone 5c and 5s will be able to access Sprint's 1900 MHz LTE network in 150 regions across the U.S. The new Apple handsets do not, however, have the necessary antenna to access Sprint's faster, next-gen TD-LTE 2.5GHz spectrum, Computerworld reports.
That shouldn't be a problem, however, as Sprint's 2.5GHz roll out is only in early days with, only 5,500 towers slated for activation by the end of the year. By comparison, Sprint's 1900MHz service is available from 20,000 towers nationwide as of July and is expected to cover 200 million people by the end of the year.
There is a slight caveat. T-Mobile doesn't do contracts, so you'll eventually have to shell out full price for the iPhone 5c. (The company's actual cellular plans are cheaper than the subsidized plans offered at the competition, however.) T-Mobile charges you the cost of the phone over 24 monthly payments of $22, coming to a grand total of $528 for the 16GB version. The 32GB model will cost $99 at the time of purchase and then $22.91 over 24 months for a grand total of $648.84.