New iPhone release date: When will the latest handset actually arrive?

Like everything this year, it could be complicated

Andrew Griffin
Wednesday 12 September 2018 15:19 BST
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Jamael Ahmed jumps in the air as he leaves the store after being the first to purchase the iPhone 6 at Apple Covent Gardens launch on September 19, 2014 in London, England
Jamael Ahmed jumps in the air as he leaves the store after being the first to purchase the iPhone 6 at Apple Covent Gardens launch on September 19, 2014 in London, England (Ben A. Pruchnie/Getty Images)

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Louise Thomas

Louise Thomas

Editor

Apple is about to launch its new iPhone – but it might be a while until you can get hold of it.

The new phone will be unveiled at the launch event today. Apple will show off the new features and allow select members of the press to see it.

It won't be until next week at least, however, that Apple actually allows the public to buy the new phone.

On the normal schedule, Apple holds its event on Tuesday or Wednesday and then puts the phone on sale on the following Friday. That would put the new phone's release date on 21 September.

Traditionally, that was the important date when people would gather outside the Apple Store and make their way into stores through applauding legions of Apple staff.

But nowadays most of the phones are sold online and the queues are smaller and less spectacular.

As such, the more important day is actually the Friday before, when pre-orders open. This year, that would be 14 September.

All of this might be a little thrown off by the cheaper phone, now expected to be called the iPhone Xr. There might be a little more time until you can get your hands on that one.

First, Bloomberg reported this week that the handset could be in short supply once it's released, because Apple is having problems with making the display. And then it also said that the release date could come later than normal, allowing for some extra time and potentially increasing demand for the more expensive iPhone XS and XS Max.

It wouldn't be the first time that Apple has staggered its iPhone releases, and left a big delay after the launch event. It did the same last year, when it let people buy the iPhone 8 and 8 Plus in the normal schedule – but waited for months before it actually put the iPhone X on sale.

That slightly complicated schedule is completely in keeping with the general complexity of this year's launch and line-up. The company is offering three versions of the new phone including the cheaper one, and in a range of options and colours.

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