Apple's iPhone 3G S: How to Pre-Order Now

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Looking to snag one of Apple's new iPhone 3G S devices by Friday? You're not completely out of luck. Despite some reports to the contrary, the iPhone 3G S pre-order stock is not sold out. You just have to know where to look -- and when to act.

iPhone 3G S Pre-Orders

The iPhone 3G S, announced at Apple's Worldwide Developers Conference last Monday, officially goes on sale June 19. The souped-up smartphone is said to be twice as fast as the previous model, with beefed-up storage, longer battery life, and a slew of new features such as cut-and-paste and video-recording capability.

Sales of the iPhone 3G S started shortly after last week's announcement, with devices being reserved both for in-store pickup and for home shipment. Some of the shipped orders are already en route, according to user accounts published online. One poster at the AppleInsider forum reports receiving an e-mail on Monday saying his iPhone 3G S was on its way from China. A tracking number, he says, was included with the message.

But what if you haven't acted yet? Here's where things stand with the various U.S. iPhone retailers as of this story's publication:

• Apple Store

You can still place pre-orders online and receive a phone on Friday, according to representatives at numerous Apple Store locations across America. Placing an order now, not surprisingly, will give you the best shot at walking out with one this week. Retail locations will open at 8:00 Friday morning.

• AT&T

If you placed your order with AT&T before June 12, you should be in good shape to get your iPhone 3G S on Friday. Orders placed anytime after the 13th, however, won't ship for about a week, a company spokesperson tells me. The same applies whether you place the order in-person at a store or via AT&T's Web site.

Retail locations open at 7 a.m. Friday for anyone with a reservation. No reservation? You can still show up early and try your luck. Customers without pre-orders will be let into the store starting at 9 a.m. They will, however, receive lower priority than those with orders already on file.

• Best Buy

Best Buy is still accepting pre-orders, but the clock is ticking fast. Head to a store in-person today, a spokesperson says, if you want to increase your odds of picking up an iPhone 3G S on Friday. There's no guarantee that the pre-order stock will still be available by tomorrow.

• Wal-Mart

Wally World isn't taking pre-orders for the iPhone 3G S, but it will have the phones readily available on Friday on a first-come, first-served basis. If you didn't act in advance but want to roll the dice, get up early and get in line. Check with your local store to see what time it opens -- or, in the case of a 24-hour location, what time it'll make the iPhones available.

iPhone 3G S Activation Planning

Apple, no doubt, is hoping to avoid the activation disaster that unfolded during the iPhone 3G's release. Already, the company has planned to can the in-store activation process that plagued many stores during last year's debut day. Instead, you'll simply get your new device, then activate remotely later via iTunes. As long as the iTunes servers remain stable, it should be smooth sailing.

Of course, as we've seen in the past, there's no guarantee of a hassle-free experience. If you're planning to brave the waters on Friday, make sure you bring plenty of patience along; you just never know what kind of waves may come up.

Connect with JR Raphael on Twitter (@jr_raphael) or via his Web site,

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