white iPhone 5s camera

With Apple not offering pre-orders on its new iPhone 5s, customers wanting to pick up the handset will either have to stay up late Thursday night to order it online, or head to their local retailer Friday morning.

But no matter which route you decide to take, make sure you act quickly—no dawdling. Early reports are indicating that iPhone 5s inventories, at retailers and carriers, are going to be very limited at launch…

AllThingsD reports:

“If you are hoping to get an iPhone 5s on Friday, be prepared to have to work for it.

Sources at multiple U.S. carriers said that the inventory of the new phone is significantly less than expected.“We will have grotesquely unavailable inventory,” was how one carrier source put it.

A source at a second carrier also complained of extremely disappointing shipments from Apple.”

Reports from BGR and 9to5Mac corroborate the ATD story, with the latter claiming that white/silver and white/gold options will be difficult to come on launch day, and AT&T will have more stock than Verizon.

In fact, the site says Apple is expecting initial iPhone 5s supply to be so constrained, that it’s prepping an update for its Apple Store app that will let users monitor when the phone is available at their local store.

So we say again, however you decide to go about getting your 5s this week, act quickly. Online orders begin at 12:01 am Friday, and most retailers who will be carrying the device will open at 8am that morning.