Am I eligible to upgrade?
I know many of my clients are particularly excited about the larger screen options and many know precisely which model they want. But the question that isn’t so easy to answer is “am I eligible for an upgrade?” You can always log into your account on your cell phone provider’s website, but some people don’t have online access set up or they don’t know where to look. Fortunately Apple, wanting to sell you the new phone as soon as possible, has a simple website set up that tells you exactly when you are eligible for discounted pricing. All you need is your phone number, billing zip code, and the last four digits of your SSN: https://buyiphone.apple.com/WebObjects/IPACustomer.woa/wa/IPAToolAction/springboard
This only works with the big three: Verizon, AT&T, and Sprint. T-Mobile customers pay for their phones outright instead of getting them subsidized, so you’ll pay the full retail value but you’re able to upgrade at any time.
How do I upgrade?
The demand on new iPhones is so high that it’s rarely ever a good idea to go to the store. You’ll wait in line, make compromises because they don’t have your storage capacity and color in stock, or be disappointed when you spent time driving there and they just don’t have them. I recommend simply ordering online and having it delivered to your door. You can visit either Apple’s website or your carrier’s website beginning at 3am Eastern this Friday, September 12. If you want to stay up late and order at that time be prepared to deal with websites that slow to a crawl and break. It doesn’t matter too much which website you order from since the process is pretty similar either way, but it might be a good idea to try both and see which one finishes first.
If you do decide to go to a brick and mortar store, my experience is that carrier stores are far more likely to have inventory than the Apple store. You might also have good luck with third party retailers such as Best Buy, Best Buy Mobile, or Radio Shack.
When you get your phone
Watch my website next week for a post about how to transfer your content from your old phone to your new phone. You don’t have to set it up again from scratch; Apple provides some tools to automatically transfer your photos, settings, apps, and message history.