On Friday, Apple — plus its carrier and retail partners — began accepting pre-orders for the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus. The orders were record breaking for several companies.
Apple issued a press release, claiming 4 million pre-orders in the first 24 hours of availability, breaking the previously announced record of 2 million pre-orders for the iPhone 5 two years ago.
AT&T said it was that company's biggest pre-order ever, without releasing specifics. By all accounts, the iPhone 6 will be very, very popular.
If you didn't get your iPhone 6 pre-order in on Friday, bad news: you could be waiting a while. Apple's own online store is quoting 3-4 week ship times for all iPhone 6 and 6 Plus models across most countries. Verizon and AT&T are quoting similarly delayed shipping times, with the iPhone 6 Plus pushed to mid-November in some cases.
UBS analyst Steven Milunovich believes Apple could sell as many as 100 million iPhones in the second half of calendar 2014, reflecting 18% unit growth over last year's 85 million iPhones sold.
For consumers looking to pick up an iPhone 6 sooner, their best bet is to head to an Apple Retail or carrier store on Friday morning. It's likely that Apple Retail Stores will see long lines, perhaps running overnight at larger locations, and it's unknown what stock levels will be like — however, Apple is almost certain to sell out of initial iPhone 6 stocks at some point on Friday.
Other stores, like Best Buy and Walmart, may have stocks as well, with Walmart looking to push sales thanks to modest $20 discounts on purchases.
Apple, for its part, is shipping millions of iPhones from its partner assembly facilities in China to the United States and the other 8 launch countries of Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Japan, Singapore and the United Kingdom.
Images shared by a MacRumors reader who is also a pilot for a cargo shipping company show 195,000 iPhones packed onto pallets. He claims the phones were flown from China to Anchorage, Alaska, and then on to Chicago's O'Hare airport, consistent with shipments from prior iPhone launches.
iPhone 6 and 6 Plus models which were purchased very early on Friday morning are beginning to ship to consumers, with orders from Apple listed as "Preparing for Shipment" with an anticipated delivery date of this Friday, September 19th.
Will your iPhone 6 preorder arrive on Friday, or are you planning to line up at an Apple Store? Let us know in the comments below.
Jordan Golson is an Apple Columnist for TechRepublic. He also writes about technology and automobiles for WIRED and MacRumors. He has worked for Apple Retail twice and has been writing about technology since 2007.