On Friday, Apple will release the latest version of its flagship phone, the iPhone 5S, along with a colorful budget conscience model, the iPhone 5C. As with other product launches, the new phones are expected to be in demand, so much so that area retailers have geared up for the occasion.
With a two-year phone contract, the iPhone 5S will set you back $199.99, $229.99 or $399.99 depending on how many gigs of space you want (16, 32, 64 respectively). The lower-end iPhone 5C costs $99.99 (16GB) or $199.99 (32GB) with a two-year phone contract.
Towson Town Center: The Towson mall is allowing iPhone buyers to gather in the C1 parking garage starting at 6 a.m. The mall and the Apple store will open at 8 a.m. at which point the line will move inside. Folding chairs, tents (it has happened) and blankets are not permitted in the mall so be prepared to stand.
The Mall at Columbia: Unlike Towson, Columbia is a little less excited about this iPhone. The Apple Store and the mall will open at 8 a.m. Friday, but there will be no area designated to line up earlier. Same rules as Towson apply: no chairs, tents or blankets.
Best Buy and Best Buy Mobile
Area Best Buy stores will open early at 8 a.m. to the sell the new iPhones. Best Buy is currently accepting pre-orders of the iPhone 5C (in-store only). Starting at 12:01 a.m. EDT Friday, customers can pre-order the iPhone 5C online and pick up the phone in a store later that day. As of yet, the company has not announced similar arrangements for the iPhone 5S.
The iPhone will be available at Wal-Mart stores starting at 8 a.m. Many Wal-Mart stores in the area are 24 hours, but you still have to wait. Apple usually has standard pricing but this year Wal-Mart is offering iPhone 5C for $79.99. Target has a similar deal. Also remember, retailers like Wal-Mart will have fewer phones on hand so come early. Also, the activation process is likely to be smoother at mobile phone outlets and Apple stores, where they handle the process more frequently.
Yes, Radio Shacks sell iPhones. The stores don't plan to open earlier so 10 a.m. is the start time here. Because the stores are smaller, the shack will probably have fewer phones to sell.
Stores open at 8 a.m. If you're looking for deal, then Target is your place. Like Wal-Mart, the big box store will sell the iPhone 5C for $20 less at $79.99. Again remember, retailers like Target will have fewer phones on hand so come early. Also, the activation process is likely to be smoother at mobile phone outlets and Apple stores, where they handle the process more frequently.
Mobile phone stores (AT&T, Verizon, Sprint, T-Mobile outlets)
AT&T stores will open at 9 a.m. on Friday. Verizon stores will open at 8 a.m.