How to order the new iPhone 7 or Apple Watch Series 2 — and avoid the lines

Kyle Wiggers

It’s finally official. After months of anticipation, Apple debuted its new top-of-the-line smartphone, the iPhone 7, at an event in Cupertino, California. And the iPhone maker didn’t stop there: It took the wraps off the Watch Series 2, the wearable follow-up to last year’s Apple Watch.

If you have your heart set on a shiny new iPhone 7 or Watch Series 2, the good news is that you won’t have long to wait. Both are now available now and will begin shipping in the next few weeks. There are exceptions depending on model, of course, but it seems Apple has taken great pains this year to ensure the buying process proceeds as smoothly as possible.

Related: iPhone 7 cuts headphone jack, brings new camera, processor, screen and more

If you’re wondering just when, where, and how you can get your hands on Apple’s latest, not to worry. We’ve compiled a handy, up-to-the-minute guide with all the relevant availability and pricing details.

How to order the iPhone 7

iphone-7-press-5
iphone-7-press-5

If you’re ordering the devices directly from Apple, head to the company’s site now. Orders are live, and both iPhone 7 models are listed on apple.com, and in the Apple Store app on iOS devices. Brick-and-mortar availability began on September 16.

Buying it in stores won’t be easy, though — even if you do wait outside of one for days. On Thursday, Apple announced that it had sold out of the initial global supply of iPhone 7 models, and that most brick-and-mortar locations would only have “limited quantities” of each configuration available.

“Beginning Friday, limited quantities of iPhone 7 in silver, gold, rose gold, and black will be available for walk-in customers at Apple retail stores,” said Apple spokesperson Trudy Miller. “During the online pre-order period, initial quantities of iPhone 7 Plus in all finishes and iPhone 7 in jet black sold out and will not be available for walk-in customers … [But] customers can continue to order all models in all colors on Apple.com.”

Related: Apple’s waterproof Watch Series 2 also gets faster, brighter, and has GPS

The advantage of ordering from Apple is that the company offers a myriad of iPhone 7 configurations to choose from. You can select from every color of iPhone including jet black, black, silver, gold, and rose gold. And you can choose between any of the iPhone 7’s three storage capacities: 32GB, 128GB, and 256GB.

Another benefit? In-store reservations. The online Apple Store allows you to put money down on the iPhone of your choice and pick it up on launch day, September 16, within a 30-minute window. It’s not a perfect system, though — you’ll likely have to wait in line for your iPhone. And reservations typically go fast. Already, Apple’s temporarily halted in-store reservations until iPhone stock has a chance to replenish.

Apple said reservations will reopen at 8 a.m. on Saturday, September, 17.

But ordering direct isn’t without its pitfalls. Demand has been high: According to preliminary reports, shipping estimates have already slipped to two to three weeks past the handsets’ September 16 brick-and-mortar date. (The Jet Black models appear to be the most constrained, with new orders estimated to ship in November.) And it’s not necessarily the most economical option. If you’re planning to grab an iPhone 7 unlocked, here’s how the pricing breaks down by model:

iPhone 7 iPhone 7 Plus
32GB $650 $770
128GB $750 $870
256GB $850 $970

iPhone Upgrade Program

The price tag is more digestible if you’re a paying member of Apple’s yearly upgrade program. Fees are monthly and extend over a two-year period, and Apple’s premium warranty program, AppleCare+, is included in the purchase price.

iPhone 7 iPhone 7 Plus
32GB $32.41 $37.41
128GB $36.58 $41.58
256GB $40.75 $45.75

The catch? Not everyone is eligible. If you’re an existing member of the upgrade program, you need to have purchased an iPhone 6 or 6S a minimum of six months ago and paid the equivalent of 12 paid installments to order. If you’re not, you cannot enroll online — you’ll have to visit an Apple store and do it in person.

iPhone 7 carrier availability

Carriers typically offer incentives in the form of discounts, pack-ins, and other special offers for customers who order from them directly. Most offer more flexible payment plans, and in some cases waive fees or arrange trade-in deals. And their stock’s often more plentiful. Historically, ordering the newest iPhone from a cell provider’s website has been far easier than doing the same from Apple.

Here’s what’s been announced so far:

Sprint

Sprint is offering the iPhone 7, iPhone 7 Plus, and orders have begun.

Both phones are available for purchase unlocked at full retail, or $650 for the iPhone 7 and $770 for the iPhone 7 Plus. Alternatively, you’ll be able to opt for paying in monthly installments — $27.08 per month over 24 months for the iPhone 7, and $32.08 per month over 24 months for the iPhone 7 Plus.

Sprint’s has a trade-in promotion for new and existing postpaid customers: a free 32GB iPhone 7. Beginning on September 16, hand over a working iPhone 6, 6S, Samsung Galaxy S7, or S7 Edge, and you’ll get a gratis iPhone in exchange. You’ll have to sign up for a rate plan like Sprint is Unlimited Freedom or an equivalent, but the carrier’s knocking 50 percent off the price of most Verizon, AT&T and T-Mobile standard rate plans (through May 31, 2018).

The iPhone 7 is also available on Sprint’s iPhone Forever program. Payments on the plan are spread over an 18-month period, but with an eligible trade-in, you can finance the iPhone 7 for as little as $1 per month and, after you’ve paid the equivalent of 12 monthly installments, exchange it for the inevitable new one.

Boost Mobile and Virgin Mobile

Boost Mobile and Virgin Mobile USA, Sprint’s prepaid sub-brands, have announced that they’ll begin carrying the iPhone 7 on Friday, September 23. Both have yet to announce pricing and availability details.

Verizon

Verizon is offering the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus, and ordering has begun

On Friday, Verizon announced a deal for current and new iPhone owners: trade in your old iPhone 6 or iPhone 6S in “good working condition,” and the carrier will apply up a $650 bill credit across a 24-month period. In essence, a 32GB iPhone 7 effectively becomes free.

In addition, Verizon is offering a trade-in promotion that’ll net you up to $300 toward the purchase of an iPhone. Your phone, as you might expect, must be in working condition to qualify.

Both phones are available for purchase at full retail or in 24 interest-free installments over a two-year period. Verizon is also offering an alternative in the form of an iPhone upgrade program all its own. If you’re on one of the carrier’s monthly financing programs and pay off at least 50 percent of your current device, you’ll be able to turn it in for an iPhone 7 or 7 Plus.

T-Mobile

T-Mobile, like its carrier competition, is offering the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus and orders are live.

The Magenta carrier will have both models on offer at full retail price, optionally payable in 24-month installments.

In addition, though, T-Mobile’s offering zero down on a 32GB iPhone 7 to customers who trade in their old devices. The iPhone 7 Plus with the same trade-in will be $120, and you’ll be able to upgrade the storage of either model to 64GB or 256GB for an additional $100 to $200, respectively. If you have $650 in trade-in value, for example, the 256GB iPhone 7 Plus would total $320.

The remainder of the devices is divided into 24 equal installments.

The iPhone 7 is also  available through T-Mobile’s Jump! On Demand program. In exchange for regular payments over the course of 18 months, you can upgrade from your current phone up to three times in a 12-month period.

AT&T

AT&T is offering orders for the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus.

If you’d rather not pay AT&T full retail for the iPhone 7 or 7 Plus, the carrier’s offering two payment plans: AT&T Next and AT&T Next Every Year. The former lets you spread the cost of the iPhone over 30 months, and, after 80 percent of the total price has been paid off, trade it in for a new model. AT&T Next Every Year, in contrast, divides up payments into 24 monthly installments and lets you upgrade after 50 percent of the cost of the phone is paid off.

AT&T is also launching a special promotion for iPhone owners: Next customers who trade in an iPhone 6 are eligible for up to $650 in monthly bill credits — the full cost of a 32GB iPhone 7.

How much you pay at time of purchase depends on the results of a credit check. It’s typically between $0 and 30 percent, though AT&T hasn’t announced specific pricing for the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus.

Cellphone carriers aren’t the only places offering deals and discounts on the iPhone 7. Retailers, too, are looking to cash in on the Apple craze. Here are the chains that have announced promotions so far:

Best Buy

Best Buy has launched orders for the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus.

And the retailer is offering trade-in pricing, too. An unlocked 16GB iPhone 6S Plus in good working condition will net you $350, while an iPhone 6 Plus of the same storage capacity gets you $250. You can estimate your phone’s worth using Best Buy’s online tool.

Payouts are in the form of a Best Buy gift card.

Target

Target made the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus available for order on launch day, September 9, but things didn’t proceeding smoothly. Ahead of Friday, Target began e-mailing customers who pre-ordered an iPhone that “stock issues” had contributed to shortages of certain iPhone models. And the situation wasn’t much different in the retailer’s brick-and-mortar locations: Apple Insider reported that of the seven Target stores it contacted, only “a few” had the iPhone 7 in rose gold, and none had stock available for retail purchase.

Target, following in Best Buy’s footsteps, is offering customers a consolidator $50 in-store credit.

Read more about the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus here.

How to order the Apple Watch Series 2

Apple Watch Series 2
Apple Watch Series 2

The Apple Watch Series 2 will follow on the heels of the iPhone 7, if all goes according to plan. Orders are live on Apple’s website, and will begin shipping on September 13 ahead of a brick-and-mortar debut on September 16.

The iPhone 7 may be hard to nab on launch day, but that’s not the case for the Apple Watch Series 2. Apple’s new wearable will be available for walk-in purchase “worldwide,” as scheduled.

Apple has the Series 2 in a wide array of styles, colors, and materials. Here’s how the base models are priced:

 Model 38mm 42mm
Series 2 Watch Aluminum $370 $400
Series 2 Watch Stainless Steel $550 $600
Series 2 Watch Edition $1250 $1300
Watch Nike+ $370 $400

Some accessories command a premium, of course. Apple announced a collection with luxury accessory maker Hermés, for instance, that has a variety of leather watchband models between $1,150 and $1,500. And some of the off-the-shelf combinations aren’t much cheaper: the Gold Aluminum Case with Toasted Coffee/Caramel Woven Nylon starts at $400 for 38mm; the Stainless Steel Case with Midnight Blue Buckle starts at $750 for 38mm; and the Space black Stainless Steel Case with Space Black Link Bracelet is $1,050 for 38mm.

The Watch Nike+, a special edition of the Watch Series 2, packs hardware and internals identical to the off-the-shelf models. But uniquely, it sports a perforated, rubberized band that comes in four colors, plus “streamlined” software with shortcuts to activity tracking and Nike’s various fitness apps. It’ll begin shipping in October.

Related: Apple’s fully wireless AirPods are highly efficient and loaded with tech

And there’s a new top dog among Apple Watch models: the Series 2 Ceramic Edition. It replaces the pricey ($10,000) 18-karat Gold Edition, and features material that Apple contends is “four times harder than steel.” The 42mm model is expected to begin shipping in 5 – 7 weeks.

In an unexpected twist, Apple’s keeping the first-generation Apple Watch around. It’s dropping the starting price to $269, and packing the same dual-core CPU that’s debuting with the Series 2. And if you want the original watch now, it’s cheaper than ever.

If you’d rather not order from Apple direct, you’ve got other options. Here’s who’s carrying the new Watch Series 2:

Best Buy

Orders for the Apple Watch Series 2 have gone live on Best Buy’s website, but good luck nabbing one: Shipping estimates for most 38mm and 42mm models have slipped to two or more weeks in the U.S., and on Friday, the retailer said it would begin shipping Apple Watch orders on September 28.

It’s offering a $50 in-store credit to customers for the inconvenience.

Some stock appears to be more plentiful than others. The Apple Watch Series 1 remains available for ship-to-home launch day delivery on September 16, as do several aluminum and stainless steel Watch Series 2 variants.

Best Buy is offering the Apple Watch Sport in both 38 and 42mm sizes.

You can save a pretty penny if you settle for last year’s models. Best Buy has begun selling the outmoded Apple Watch for as low as $190 — a steep discount from the original asking price of $350, and significantly cheaper than even its lowest recent price of $230. The 38mm is available in rose gold, space gray, silver, and gold, with matching lavender, space gray, white, antique white fluoroelastomer, and black nylon straps. The 42mm first-generation Apple Watch — now  $219 — is available in space gray, gold, silver, or rose gold, with band colors including space gray, midnight blue, stone, and white, nylon black, and suba blue.

Learn all about the Apple Watch Series 2 here.

Updated on 09-15-2016 by Kyle Wiggers: Added Apple’s statement regarding limited in-store iPhone availability.