Skip to main content

Apple’s retail store plans for iPhone 6s: how you’ll get your new iPhone on launch day

Apple Store 5th Ave

9to5Mac has obtained details about Apple’s launch plans for the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus on September 25th. Like previous years, Apple expects long lines for the new iPhone debut so has prepared a plan to help the process go smoothly …

First off, like previous years, Apple will limit customers to purchasing only two new iPhones per day and you can only buy two per store reservation.

On the big day, Apple will once again close normal Genius Bar appointment services to dedicate as many people as possible, about 50% of specialists and Geniuses, to iPhone sales. Other initiatives like Personal Training will also be shut down for the launch period.

At about 6 AM, queuing customers will be split into two new lines for reservations and new buyers (or in Apple parlance, customers ‘ready to reserve’). There will also be some form of food and drink given out to keep the crowd happy.

The doors will open early at 8 AM for iPhone sales. Apple will begin allocating reservations for customers that need them about fifteen minutes before doors open. Customers can leave their queue and rejoin at their reservation time. Customers with wait times shorter than two hours will be encouraged to stay and wait as they may be able to be seen faster than the estimate.

After picking up the phone in the store, at purchase customers will be informed about the different ways they can buy their new iPhone 6s. This includes details about Apple’s new iPhone Upgrade Program, upgrade eligibility and recycling options. After the purchase is processed, customers will be sent on their way to enjoy their new iPhones.

If Apple Stores do not have stock during the launch weekend and beyond, Apple Store staff will be encouraged to get customers to place orders online or tell them to try and make a reservation for a future date. Reservations can be made online from 8am every day.

And that’s it — how Apple customers can get their hands on the new iPhone 6s and 6s Plus at retail. Preorders for the phone started on Friday and it’s already on pace for a record debut; almost all of these orders should be fulfilled on launch day whilst stock is still available. The new phones goes on sale on September 25th.


FTC: We use income earning auto affiliate links. More.

You’re reading 9to5Mac — experts who break news about Apple and its surrounding ecosystem, day after day. Be sure to check out our homepage for all the latest news, and follow 9to5Mac on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn to stay in the loop. Don’t know where to start? Check out our exclusive stories, reviews, how-tos, and subscribe to our YouTube channel


  1. Alan Aurmont - 8 years ago

    It’d be nice if we got this info before the night of pre-orders.

  2. Alan Aurmont - 8 years ago

    Also, I don’t see anything marginally different from all the other past launches.

  3. sparkymalone - 8 years ago

    Any word on how they plan on handling their iPhone Upgrade Program reservation time window? I assume that we will show up during our appt window and get queued in a special line.

    • BounouGod (@BounouGod) - 8 years ago

      I would assume you will be in the same line as the people who are buying with a contract. Honestly the best reason for getting the phone out of contract is how much “easier” it is to buy on launch day.

      Not that buying an iPhone at 8AM on launch day is ever easy but the 6 out of contract was a much easier experience then buying the 5S and the 5.

      For the 5S i managed to be close enough to the line to get in with the first batch of people who got inside the store at 8AM, all the activation servers were down, took about 2 hours to buy the phone and they had to make me sign a paper contract and told me everything would be on my first bill.

      Rogers ended up billing me the full unsubsidized price of the phone, the full subsidized price of the phone and the full cancellation penalty to break a contract. The bill was over 2000$ and it took a week and about 10 hours on the phone and inside the Apple Store to get it all sorted.

      Real first world nightmare if there ever was one =p

    • Smigit - 8 years ago

      I can’t see it being any different. Presumably when you go to pay you sign a contract, but other than that it should be the same process where you line up, wait for your turn/slot and then get handed the phone you reserved.

    • 2is1toomany - 8 years ago

      There’s no special line. Whether you reserved online or at the store, when you go to pay with the specialist you will begin the upgrade process.

  4. Thomas Yoon - 8 years ago

    “Food and drink”, so we’ll be seeing Specialists walking around the line with cups of apple juice and trays of sliced apples? That’s hardcore branding right there. ;)

    • John Robinson - 8 years ago

      In the past (at the Mall of America, anyhow) it’s been bottled water or coffee, and granola bars (in case you might’ve actually wanted to know) :)

      • Thomas Yoon - 8 years ago

        That’s actually a nice tidbit of info, thanks. :)

        I always do the virtual lineup under the glow of my Macbook, iPhone and iPad instead of the physical lineup, so I’ve actually never seen how they directly deal with it.

  5. Ali Hamodi - 8 years ago

    I started with iPhones since iPhone 3gs and upgraded every year. This year I desided to switch and try other options and I traded the 6 with a note 5 yesterday. It is great but I still think iPhones are better, I wish next year the iPhone 7 plus will support the Apple pencil.

  6. jaysones (@jaysones) - 8 years ago

    So I already have a reservation for 8:30am, should I just turn up at that time or a few minutes before? This sentence makes it sound like I need to be there earlier, unless it means customers who want to MAKE reservations: “At about 6 AM, queuing customers will be split into two new lines for reservations and new buyers (or in Apple parlance, customers ‘ready to reserve’). “

    • Jaysones

      Did you get an answer to this? I’m in the same boat, I have an 8:30 reservation so that I didn’t have to wait in line for hours, figured it was like an appointment. Then I read this and it seems almost as if your time is irrelevant.

      • jaysones (@jaysones) - 8 years ago

        No but I assume this is just a poorly worded article and what it meant to say is that the line will be spilt into people who want to continue waiting to buy one and people who want to just make a reservation and come back at a later time. I’m going to arrive at my reservation time, as planned.

      • Chanee Venise Dawson - 8 years ago

        Last year myself and some others brought online and then had it reserved at the store. We did the long line thing just for kicks and giggles. Very interesting to say the least. But, to answer your question around 7a.m. they split the line which made us be almost the first in line next to those who had not preordered and was waiting in the line next to us, and then when the doors opened we all went in and they had staff split up to help those who had reservations and those who did not. The process took all of 20 mins and it was a cool experience. I hope this helps, my pick up window this year is 11:30 and I don’t plan on being there before 9:00.

    • 2is1toomany - 8 years ago

      Let’s say it’s 8:00am and customer A has a reservation for 8:30am and customer B has a reservation for 9:30am. Customer A will get priority over Customer B because his reservation is earlier than Customer B. We will know who has an earlier reservation and is waiting in line because we will check you in just like a Genius Bar appointment before you make the line and invite you into the store. The lines are held outside the store so as not to crowd the store.

  7. rogifan - 8 years ago

    Has Apple offered food and drink in the past for people waiting in line? I’ve never done it before.

  8. chrisl84 - 8 years ago

    Love the photo for this article with the guy arms in the air crowd around him clapping….he bought a phone that’s existed for almost a decade, he didnt have a child!!

    • John Robinson - 8 years ago

      It’s weird. I’ve waited in line twice (4S and 5S), and everyone in line acknowledges that it’s kind of stupid to be sitting on the sidewalk for hours waiting to buy a phone — especially since the vast majority of the people in line already HAVE working phones. Then when they open the doors and all of the employees are standing around applauding, it feels outright ridiculous. And yet, if you can get past that, it’s also oddly entertaining.

      • chrisl84 - 8 years ago

        Oh I get it, I did it for the 3GS….but each passing year it gets more unusual…. Its almost like people cheering when you buy your groceries at this point….its just a common purchase now that every household has.

  9. GoldMark City - 8 years ago


  10. ozpaulb - 8 years ago

    I’ve never purchased on the day of release with an appointment before. I DO have a reservation (10:30am) this time. Do I have to show up super-early? Or, can I just show up around 10:15am and expect to talk to someone around 10:30am or so? (I would assume that having a reservation/appointment time means just that – but I know things can be crazy on launch day).

    • 2is1toomany - 8 years ago

      You can check in up to 2 hours earlier than your reservation window. If we’re 2 hours or more behind (based on wait time to see a specialist) we ask you come back later. You’re reservation guarantees you priority over anyone with a later reservation. But if the earlier reservation customers are still being attended or show up while you’re waiting, they will have priority over you. Keep in mind, reservations only last for 3 hours. Afterwards, the reservation expired and the phone is released.

  11. Paul Andrew Dixon - 8 years ago

    If you are the first — just dont drop it like the guy in Australia…lol

  12. Somewhere Samsung is burning out of jealousy that this never happens with their device launches ! And I’m loving it :)

  13. Rich Davis (@RichDavis9) - 8 years ago

    I don’t know how many people caught this, but when they did the presentation and they showed the countries they’re rolling it out to first, China was listed. If my memory serves me, I believe China is usually delayed for the second roll out, if that’s the case, then it’s easily possible that they are going to have a ton of sales because of rolling it out in both China and the US which are Apple’s two biggest markets.

    I’m still on the fence on whether I’m going to upgrade or not. I’ll wait until they are more available and I have a least some time to play with the thing in person first.

  14. Javier Yenabes - 8 years ago

    HI! I got both option, delivers to the office and pick-up reserve. It is for an iPhone 6S Plus 128 GB Space Gray. As I expect to receive the iPhone by post across the day, this appointment might be lost. If someone in London (Regent Street) is looking at buy that model (it is the most expensive in Space Gray), please let me know and we can meet. The appointment is in the afternoon, close to the closing time, but Apple assures it will be book at the time I selected.

  15. when will Denmark get it!!


Avatar for Benjamin Mayo Benjamin Mayo

Benjamin develops iOS apps professionally and covers Apple news and rumors for 9to5Mac. Listen to Benjamin, every week, on the Happy Hour podcast. Check out his personal blog. Message Benjamin over email or Twitter.