iPhone

You can now pre-order an iPhone 5C (but not an iPhone 5S)

Sep. 13, 2013 at 9:56 AM ET

An iPhone 5C at the Apple launch event on Sept. 10 in Cupertino, Calif.
Wilson Rothman / NBC News
An iPhone 5C at the Apple launch event on Sept. 10 in Cupertino, Calif.

.For those who want to go colorful with the iPhone 5C, now's your chance to secure a Sept. 20 delivery — while supplies last. Yes, for some reason, Apple announced Tuesday that it would allow carriers to pre-sell the new plastic iPhones today, but shoppers of the higher-end iPhone 5S will have to wait until Sept. 20 and get in line.

A quick refresher to you about the iPhone 5C: It's a little bit chunkier than the iPhone 5/5S design, and it's got a rounded plastic back that comes in five colors: white, yellow, blue, pink and green. You can cross match that with an additional set of colors, in the form of the $29 rubber cases that Apple made for the 5C.

iPhone 5C cases, shown on display at the Apple iPhone launch event in Cupertino, Calif.
Wilson Rothman / NBC News
iPhone 5C cases, shown on display at the Apple iPhone launch event in Cupertino, Calif.

The phone has the same 4-inch Retina screen as the iPhone 5 and 5S, and it runs on the A6 chip, the same one that powers the iPhone 5 (but not the super-duper fast one that's inside the iPhone 5S). There is no fingerprint reader on the iPhone 5C.

And while the "C" doesn't stand for "cheap" internationally, this is definitely the cheapest new-model iPhone you could ever buy in the U.S. of A. In fact, Verizon is the only carrier who doesn't appear to be offering a "free" 16GB iPhone 5C — that is, you don't have to put any money down, but eventually you pay it off.

Sprint has a nice deal: The $100 up-front cost is waived when you bring a line from another carrier; meanwhile, T-Mobile and AT&T both have pay-over-time plans. Walmart, Best Buy and other retailers who dabble in the phone business are offering the pre-order in store.

We've asked Apple for some insight into why the iPhone 5S is not available for pre-order — because honestly, it's hard to guess, even if there was some issue down at the factory that somehow delayed the product. We'll report back when if we hear anything.

Wilson Rothman is the Technology & Science editor at NBC News Digital. Catch up with him on Twitter at @wjrothman, and join our conversation on Facebook.

Video: Check out the newest features for Apple's iPhone 5C and how the model will be different from earlier versions.


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