If you missed out on the initial batch of sold out pre-orders and decided you don’t want to wait a couple weeks for iPhone 5 to be delivered to your door, your next option is to try and get one in a retail store. Sales start on the morning of September 21, if you plan on grabbing one on launch day you’ll probably want to aim for an early arrival and prepare to wait in a line. Below are your options for buying iPhone 5 in the USA.
Stores That Sell iPhone 5
Check the store locators and find which retailer works best for you:
- Apple Retail Stores – Apple Stores are likely to have the most stock, but they’ll also probably have the longest lines. Get there early enough and you’ll almost certainly get one though.
- AT&T Retail Store – All AT&T retail stores should have a decent stock of iPhone 5′s but they’re also likely to sell out quickly. Get there early!
- Verizon Retail Stores – Verizon retail will have iPhone 5 on hand but they may be the fastest to sell out due to the popularity of Verizon’s vast LTE network, as with others expect lines and get there early
- Sprint Stores – Sprint is the only carrier left to offer unlimited data for iPhone 5, making the their LTE network a very attractive offering. That also means they will be selling out quick, so you know what to do. Line up!
- Walmart – Walmart will have iPhone 5 in stock but the quantity will likely very greatly based on location, you’re best off calling the night before and making sure they’ll have some in stock. Ask to transfer to electronics/cell phones and try to speak with someone knowledgable. Walmart is also $10 cheaper than Apple!
- Target – Same story as Walmart, quantity of devices available is going to vary on location. Call ahead of time and speak with the appropriate staff. Not many people know they sell Apple gear, so Target is traditionally a great place to get otherwise sold-out Apple gear on launch days.
- Best Buy – Some people swear by Best Buy for launch day purchases, but the availability of iPhone 5 is going to vary greatly based on store locations just like the other retailers. Get there early and you’ll probably get one.
- Radio Shack – RadioShack is a bit like Target in the sense that not many people know they carry iPhones and iPads, therefore you can often get Apple gear here when everyone else is sold out. Call ahead and make sure your local store will have what you want, then show up and enjoy!
Each store will probably carry a variety of iPhone 5′s right away, and if you’re not picky on the precise model you get you’ll have a better chance of walking away with one sooner than later. We generally recommend buying the base 16GB model because it’s the cheapest at $199 ($189 at Walmart) and holds its resale value incredibly well, but they also tend to be the most popular option and sell out quickest.
Finally, don’t expect the pricey unlocked iPhone 5′s to be available right away at anywhere other than Apple Stores, and because of their ginormous resale value in locations around the globe they tend to get purchased right away by scalpers looking to flip them overseas for healthy profits.