Apple has started accepting online reservations for its new flagship smartphone in China and Hong Kong. Those who make a reservation now will be able to pick up the device in-store on September 20.
The company hasn’t actually launched a formal pre-order program for iPhone 5S, like it has done for the iPhone 5C. Analysts believe that this is due to supply constraints. Both iPhones will initially be released in 10 markets, China is one of them. Since scalping of new iPhones is a big issue in China, it appears that Apple has begun taking reservations as a pre-emptive strike against scalpers that line up outside the company’s retail stores in the country on launch day. Apple revamped its online reservation system last year.
The system allows customers to reserve an iPhone 5S, or even the iPhone 5C, online. However, they’ll have to go to an Apple Retail Store to pick up the device, that can’t happen before September 20. When customers are in the store, they’ll have options to pick a rate plan that’s right for them and will receive help in setting up their emails, contacts and more on the device. Supplies seem to be thin, as a number of Apple Stores in the country have already sold out of several iPhone 5S models.
Apple isn’t offering a pre-order program for iPhone 5S, though customers based in markets other than China can purchase the device online on launch day. In the U.S., customers will be able to purchase iPhone 5S online at 12:01 AM Pacific Time and from 8:00 AM at retail stores across the country, on September 20.