iPhone 5, iPod touch, iPod nano pre-orders begin

Despite web site hiccups early on Friday morning, Apple and its carrier partners are now officially accepting and processing pre-orders for the iPhone 5. Falling a little behind schedule after promising a 12:01am PT/3:01am ET online pre-order process, Apple’s web site began to accept orders several minutes later, and provided a reasonably graceful fallback reservation process when AT&T’s computers buckled—an outage that lasted for approximately 30 minutes as AT&T’s own site quickly failed at processing upgrade eligibility status for existing users.

Users attempting to order Verizon phones were promptly processed, while AT&T iPhone 5 orders through Apple were given reservation numbers and the opportunity to log in to complete their orders when AT&T’s computers became operable. E-mails offering that opportunity began to go out by 12:35am PT, and were processed properly at that point. Notably, iPhone 4S customers have discovered that they are not eligible for discounted or fully subsidized iPhone 5 pricing, with October 8 of this year as the earliest date for discounts, and May 8, 2013 for full subsidized pricing. iPhone 5 unlocked and off-contract pricing remains the same as for the iPhone 4S: $649 (16GB), $749 (32GB), or $849 (64GB).

Apple also began to accept pre-orders for the fifth-generation iPod touch and seventh-generation iPod nano during the same time period. Unexpectedly, Apple limited iPod touch orders to two per person, with no limitation on iPod nano orders. iPod touch loop wrist strap accessories became available separately for $9 each. The company provided no further details on ship dates for the new iPods or accessories beyond the word “October.”

Updated: One hour after pre-orders began, Apple sold through its initial U.S. pre-order allocation of iPhone 5s; the Apple Store web site thereafter told customers that new orders would ship in “two weeks.” iPod availability apparently remained unchanged.

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