iPhone 5 rings up record-setting orders

NEED TO KNOW
  • The new iPhone goes on sale Friday
  • Apple: Pre-orders more than double iPhone 4S
  • Save big with an older model; iPhone 4 is free!
iPhone 5 rings up record-setting orders

Apple is touting the iPhone 5 as its thinnest, lightest, fastest phone ever. And, from all indications, you can add “best-selling” to the list.

Apple says it got more than 2 million pre-orders in 24 hours after the iPhone 5 was announced last week. That’s more than double the pre-orders for the iPhone 4S.

In fact, demand for the iPhone 5 is so big that it exceeds the initial supply -- good for Apple, not so good for customers. Apple says most people who pre-ordered the phone will get it on Friday, when it goes on sale to the public. But some pre-orders won’t be delivered until next month.

If you’re going out on Friday to buy an iPhone 5, you’ll need two things: Patience and cash (or credit.) The 16GB model will run you $199. Add another $100 for the 32GB model. And if you want the mack-daddy, 64GB iPhone 5, that’ll be $399, please. Of course, you’ll also have to buy a monthly data plan from AT&T, Sprint or Verizon.

Or you can purchase an unlocked iPhone 5 and take it to one of the smaller, no-contract carriers, which will get you a better deal on data. But it’s going to take a while for those data savings to pay back the upfront cost of the unlocked phone -- $649 for 16GB, $749 for 32GB or $849 for 64GB.

Come to think of it, as long as you’re shelling out that kind of cash, why not pay someone to stand in line for you?

Seriously, though, don’t let those big price tags get you down. If you don’t need to have the latest, greatest phone, the introduction of the iPhone 5 actually represents a real chance to save some big bucks. Apple is now selling the iPhone 4S for $99. And if you go back one more generation to the iPhone 4, you can get it for free with a two-year contract, depending on the carrier.

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