If you didn’t preorder an iPhone 6S, it’s still possible to get one on Friday, the first day it is available in U.S. stores. But it may take a little more legwork and a bit of luck. One of the first places to look is the Apple Store. But in major cities, chances are there are already people lined up outside.
If you decide to go that route, be sure to bundle up -- depending on local weather conditions -- and bring a chair and maybe some form of entertainment. But don’t expect to line up at all locations, since iPhone 6S sales are limited to people with reservations at Apple Stores in states with no sales tax, such as Oregon, New Hampshire, Delaware and Alaska. Apple has a similar reservation policy in place for its stores in Hong Kong, China and Japan, presumably to deter scalpers.
But if long lines are not your idea of a good time, here’s how to get the iPhone 6S on launch day.
Apple’s major U.S. carrier partners -- AT&T, Verizon, Sprint and T-Mobile -- will also have iPhones available for walk-in purchases on a first-come, first-serve basis.
If you purchase your iPhone 6S from T-Mobile, the carrier is selling the 16GB version under its Jump On Demand leasing program for $5 a month, with an iPhone 6 or 6 Plus trade-in. Verizon shoppers can get up to $300 in the form of a gift card for trading in an old smartphone as well as a $100 credit on their bills if they’re switching to the carrier.
Alternatively, AT&T customers can also take advantage of Enjoy -- a concierge service launched by former Apple retail chief Ron Johnson. New York City and San Francisco Bay Area shoppers who purchase an iPhone 6S through AT&T’s website can have the phone hand-delivered and set up for free within 48 hours starting on Friday. Sprint offers a similar service called “Direct 2 You,” where a representative delivers the phone and helps customers with the setup process.
These options may be particularly attractive for New York residents who would prefer to stay indoors during Pope Francis’ visit to Manhattan.
If the crowds and fanfare of waiting in line at the Apple Store or a carrier store don't appeal to you, a number of Apple’s retail partners are also expected to carry the iPhone 6S and 6S Plus on launch day, such as Best Buy, Target and Walmart. Keep in mind that each store may have different levels of stock and carrier-specific iPhone 6S and 6S Plus units available.