iPhone 5_pre-order

I jumped on the bandwagon.

Well, not really, I just felt I couldn’t write fairly about the entire smartphone market without owning one of the most popular phones available right now. So, yesterday, I decided to open a new line and go in search of an iPhone 5 to complement the Galaxy S III I already carry.

I live in Manhattan and tried calling every wireless carrier in my area. There were a few Sprint iPhone 5 units available, but I wanted to add an account to the AT&T account I’ve had since 2007. I couldn’t find one in stock at a single AT&T, so I tried calling Best Buy, every Apple Store in Manhattan and RadioShack. No dice – nobody had it in stock.

Then one Apple Store retail employee let me in on a not-so-secret secret. I hadn’t heard of it, but maybe you have. If you go to Apple’s website between 10:00 p.m. and 4:00 a.m. local time, you can place an order for pickup at a nearby Apple Store location the next day. Sometimes the wait is as little as an hour, depending on your location and what’s in stock. I’m lucky because I live next to the 5th Avenue Apple Store, which is open 24 hours a day.

You can order any model of the iPhone 5 and for any of the three carriers that currently offer it, but you need to move fast. An Apple Store employee told me they are usually sold out shortly after 10:00 p.m., but I was able to find a white 32GB AT&T model at around 10:20 p.m. The 16GB black and white models were already sold out and there weren’t any black 32GB options available (my first choice).

When I went to the store to pick it up this morning there were a few people in line trying to buy a new iPhone 5. I saw about a hundred of them behind the counter, but the Apple Store employees wouldn’t sell them. Why? They were reserved for people who had placed pre-orders online the night before, just like I had.

So, if you want to avoid the 3-4 week wait times that Apple, Sprint, AT&T and Verizon have on their sites, head over to Apple’s site and pre-order it. Just remember, you’ll have the best selection if you log on at 10:00 p.m.