As preorders begin, wait time for new iPhones grows

Preorders began early Friday morning for the iPhone 6 Plus (left) and iPhone 6.
Preorders began early Friday morning for the iPhone 6 Plus (left) and iPhone 6. The Associated Press

Apple’s new iPhones will take as many as four weeks to ship, the company said as people rushed to buy the smartphones hours after the company began taking preorders.

The iPhone 6 Plus, which has a larger display, will take three to four weeks for shoppers who preordered online, according to Apple’s website. Certain models of the iPhone 6, which has a slightly smaller screen, will take an extra seven to 10 business days to arrive, though some versions are still available for delivery on Sept. 19, when the devices will officially go on sale in stores.

Apple this week unveiled the new smartphones with rounded edges, thinner frames and higher-resolution displays, and they became available for preorder early Friday morning. CEO Tim Cook is counting on the new devices to usher in demand for other products he introduced this week, from the iPhone-compatible Apple Watch to the credit-card-substituting Apple Pay service.

Demand for the latest iPhone is the greatest AT&T has seen in two years, Ralph de la Vega, the company’s chief executive of its mobile division, said Friday at a Goldman Sachs media conference.

“Every time there is a change in design, and this is clearly a change in design for Apple, there is an uptake,” de la Vega said. “I think there’s going to be a great uptake, which is good for us.”

This isn’t the first time Apple and phone carriers have seen iPhone models delayed and sold out well before they were available in stores. In 2012, the iPhone 5 was delayed for shipment by a week after a rush of orders, and in 2011 the iPhone 4S sold out only five days after preorders began.

The iPhone 6 costs $199 to $399 with a two-year contract, while the 6 Plus is priced at $299 to $499. The devices will come in silver, gold and space gray.