Online Order Starts For iPhone 4S

The Cupertino, Calif., iPhone maker initiated advance sales of the iPhone 4S early Friday, slightly later than originally promised. For those unsure whether they are eligible for an upgrade, Apple offers customers the ability to check eligibility with its three wireless carrier partners in the U.S.

Verizon has gone live on its website, offering the 16GB iPhone 4S for $199.99 on a two-year contract, reduction from $649.99. Verizon, Sprint and AT&T began offering pre-orders on their websites on Friday. Vodafone in the U.K. has also started pre-orders of the handset.

The new handset will launch on Oct. 14 in the U.S., Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Japan, and the U.K. Customers will be able to purchase the device from the Apple Online Store, Apple’s retail stores, select Apple Authorized Resellers and participating wireless operators.In the UK, T-Mobile is live, as is Vodafone. The big red operator also sayd you can “get £59 back when you pre-order iPhone 4S today”. Both operators have a number of different plans for customers, with the cheapest plans requiring a two year commitment.

D’s Ina Fried, Apple plans to offer an unlocked version of the iPhone 4S, though the company has yet to announce pricing. However, Apple warns in the fine print on its website that CDMA functionality is only available on the handset if it is “sold and activated for use on a CDMA network.”Though Verizon began selling the iPhone 4 in February, recent surveys have suggested that many of the carrier’s subscribers have been waiting for the release of a new iPhone.

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