[Update: Pre-orders have begun]
The familiar "We'll be back" sign has appeared on the US and other countries' online Apple Stores
in advance of the expected 12AM PT Friday opening for pre-orders on the new iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus. Customers in Australia, the UK, Canada, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Singapore, Japan, Puerto Rico and of course the US can pre-order the devices, which will appear at retail September 19.
Along with Apple, US carriers AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile and Sprint are also taking pre-orders, and all four are going to allow in-store pickup -- which should help anxious buyers, but may aggravate the expected short supplies of the 5.5-inch iPhone 6 Plus. Apple will likely delay reporting opening weekend sales until after next week, presuming sales set another record. With two models and substantial enhancements from the previous iPhone 5s -- along with new US carrier programs that encourage easier upgrading -- a new all-time high is likely.
A number of merchants are offering trade-in specials and discounts
on iPhone 6 pre-orders, including Radio Shack, Walmart, Sam's Club
and Verizon (among others). Our sister site AppleInsider
has a Trade-In Guide
for those wishing to exchange their current or former iPhones towards the cost of a new one.
The online Apple Store in the UK is now open to pre-orders. At the time of writing, the United States version is still showing the "We'll be back" message. A number of carriers on both sides of the Atlantic have also started to accept pre-orders.