FAQ: It's the iPhone 5

Apple's conjecture-happy followers nailed it, more or less, but when can you get it?

Apple yesterday unveiled the iPhone 5, the nameplate everyone wanted last year before they settled, sometimes only after a lot of griping, for the iPhone 4S.

The rumor mill nailed most of the feature set -- one analyst said Apple could have saved everyone time by simply stating, "It's all you thought it was, no surprises, have a good time" -- including LTE, a 4-in. screen and a bigger battery.

That doesn't mean there aren't questions.

And answers. Here is our first set for the iPhone 5, including the nitty-gritty of when, where and how much.

When can I get one? Friday, Sept. 21.

That's the on-sale day at Apple's retail stores, as well as the outlets of its carrier partners. It will also be the delivery date for iPhone 5s ordered during the presale stretch.

Apple will open its stores at 8 a.m. local time. The three carriers in the U.S. will also begin selling the iPhone 5 on Sept. 21, but none -- AT&T, Verizon or Sprint -- has yet said when it will open the doors that day.

Can I pre-order? Of course ... what would an iPhone launch be without lots of people up at the middle of the night refreshing their browsers every second or two?

Presales start on Friday, Sept. 14, when Apple and carriers start accepting orders at their websites (and presumably, by phone too).

Sprint said it would begin taking pre-orders starting at 12:01 a.m. Pacific time Friday, so that will likely be the kickoff time for everyone. (That means the virtual doors open at 3:01 a.m. Eastern time in the U.S., 8:01 a.m. in London, 9:01 a.m. in Paris and Berlin, 3:01 p.m. in Hong Kong, 4:01 p.m. in Tokyo, and 5:01 p.m. in Sydney.)

The timing fits last year, when Verizon kicked off presales for the iPhone 4S at just after midnight Pacific time on the designated day. Sprint's, Apple's and AT&T's websites started taking orders, in that order, over the next hour, although Apple's e-store had the most problems handling the traffic.

How much does it cost? Assuming you're eligible for the subsidized prices because your existing contract is up or nearly up, or because you're switching carriers or are buying a smartphone for the first time, the 5 will cost $199 (16GB), $299 (32GB) or $399 (64GB).

This is the second year in a row that a 64GB model has held the Big Dog spot. Apple hasn't shown any inclination to boost the iPhone's storage capacity further, even though RAM is a cheap way for the company to add another $100 to its prices.

How do I find out if I qualify for the iPhone 5 at the subsidized price? Steer to your carrier's site first. Apple's website will also do an eligibility check when you place an order.

Prepping for Friday's presale? AT&T, Sprint and Verizon customers in the U.S. can check eligibility now at Apple's site.

I want one, but my contract isn't up. What will I pay? More than you want to pay, we'll bet you that.

Because each carrier handles still-in-contract fees for the iPhone 5, you'll have to contact your service provider to price the move. And that move can be very pricey.

We checked a Verizon iPhone 4 that has a contract set to expire in mid-October to get an idea. According to Verizon, we'd have to pay $649, $749 or $849 for a 16GB, 32GB or 64GB iPhone 5 before the contract expiration date.

That's a $450 surcharge. Yikes.

What does the iPhone 5 look like, feel like? Different. For one thing, it's 0.3-in. taller than the iPhone 4S; that's a 7% increase. It's also about 18% thinner and 20% lighter, according to Apple's specifications.

Keith Shaw and Ken Mingis discuss the features of Apple's iPhone 5 smartphone, and whether the larger screen, 4G LTE network and other features will excite the legions of Apple fans.

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