iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s pre-orders began on September 12 at 12:01 AM Pacific, with two options to receive your new smartphone: home delivery or in-store pickup. Customers that do not place a pre-order or reservation for in-store pickup can also try their luck by standing in line at an Apple Store on September 25, but expect long lines. Most retail locations will open early at 8:00 AM local time.
Reserve and Pick Up
The easiest and most convenient way to purchase an iPhone 6s or iPhone 6s Plus from an Apple Store on launch day is to make a reservation for in-store pickup by September 25. Simply choose an iPhone model, color, storage size and carrier on Apple's website and click on the "Reserve to buy in store" button.
Next, sign in with your Apple ID and select an Apple Store near you. You will then be required to text a code to an Apple number to receive a unique registration code to enter on Apple's website. Then, select how many iPhones you would like, choose a 30-minute time block for pickup, verify your contact information and confirm your reservation.
When you arrive at the Apple Store during your specified check-in window, most locations should have a special line for customers with reservations. An employee will then help you with purchasing and setting up your new iPhone. Only the person named on the reservation can pick up the iPhone -- bring a government-issued photo ID.
Wait in Line
For customers that choose not to or are unable to place a pre-order for the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus prior to September 25, but still want a chance at purchasing a specific model on launch day, the only option at an Apple Store is to stand in line among others without reservations.
While the size of crowds will fluctuate depending on the location, expect most Apple Stores to have significant wait times for those without a reservation. iPhone launch days can result in lineups of hundreds or, in some densely populated areas, thousands of people waiting to purchase a new device or two.
iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus launch day at Eaton Centre in Toronto, Canada
If you plan on waiting it out at an Apple Store, it is highly recommended that you reschedule any important plans that day, as it can take up to 10 hours, and in some cases longer, before you reach the front of the queue. In some cases, in-store stock of new iPhones may run out completely before you get your own.
Apple employees will walk up and down the lineup to answer questions and accommodate customers during the day, and most locations are likely to have a rolling cart with free food or drinks. Bringing your own tote bag with a few snacks is also recommended, since you could lose your spot in line if you leave to purchase food.
As you get towards the front of the line, an Apple employee is likely to approach you with a small card that details which iPhone model you are interested in purchasing. Keep in mind that, as the day progresses, the iPhone 6s Plus, larger storage capacities and newer colors such as Rose Gold or Gold are likely to run out of stock first.
Each customer is limited to purchasing two new iPhones.
iPhone Upgrade Program
Apple launched a new iPhone Upgrade Program in the United States last week that enables customers to purchase a new iPhone every year with AppleCare+ warranty coverage included. Eligible customers who sign up for the program will have the full cost of their new iPhone broken down into 24 equal payments of around $30 to $45 per month depending on the model, plus a premium for AppleCare+.
Apple will provide customers enrolled in the iPhone Upgrade Program with an unlocked iPhone each year, allowing them to choose from one of the four major U.S. carriers: AT&T, Verizon, Sprint or T-Mobile. After the first 12 monthly payments, the customer gains the option to trade in their iPhone for a new one and enter into a new 24 month installment plan to pay it off.
iPhone 6s Plus
After being enrolled in the iPhone Upgrade Program for at least six months, customers gain the option to make an early upgrade by paying off up to the six remaining monthly payments to reach 12 payments. At that point, the customer can upgrade to a new iPhone and be placed on a new 24 month installment plan for payments.
The final cost of an entry-level 16GB iPhone 6s with AppleCare+ purchased through the iPhone Upgrade Program is $777.84, which is just cents cheaper than the $778 it would cost to purchase a 16GB iPhone 6s ($649) and AppleCare+ ($129) outright. The advantage to the program, however, is not having to pay so much upfront.
AT&T, Verizon, Sprint and T-Mobile all offer their own carrier financing plans, each breaking down the full price of iPhones into equal monthly payments without AppleCare+ added. With the 16GB iPhone 6s, for example, all four carriers ultimately charge within a few cents of the device's full $649 retail price.
T-Mobile does have an introductory JUMP! On Demand promotion that offers the 16GB iPhone 6s for just $20 per month for 18 months with zero dollars paid upfront, totaling $360 under the agreement the device is returned in good condition. To keep the iPhone, you must pay an additional $164, bringing the total cost to $524 -- a savings of $125 and the best deal for those wishing to join T-Mobile.
You can enroll in the iPhone Upgrade Program by visiting an Apple Store. You must be at least 18 years old and bring your current iPhone, a valid personal credit card, your personal information and two forms of identification and your carrier information, such as your wireless account password. See Terms & Conditions.