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Apple offering online iPhone 5 reservations for next-day pickup

The wait time for online purchases of the iPhone 5 is now 3 - 4 weeks, but Apple has added the option to reserve a new smartphone for next-day, in-store pickup.

Apple will be accepting reservations online for pickup at a nearby Apple store the next day. "Buy an iPhone from the people who know it best," according to a note on Apple's website.

The option was first noted by 9to5Mac, which reported that Apple was prepping its iPhone 5 reservation system.

Apple said "limited quantities" of the iPhone 5 might also be available in Apple stores on a first-come, first-served basis. Fans lined up at Apple stores all over the world on Friday to be some of the first people to snag the new smartphone.

Pre-orders for the iPhone 5 started on 14 September, but Apple and the carriers quickly sold out. By morning, iPhone 5 ship dates were pushed to 1 - 2 weeks beyond the 21 September launch date. I pre-ordered my iPhone 5 late morning on 14 September and it arrived ten days later, for example.

Apple also offered online reservations for the iPhone 4S in October. In an effort to deter scalpers, meanwhile, Apple in January introduced a lottery system for customers in Hong Kong who wanted one of its smartphones.