As the iPhone 4S nears its international rollout in 22 more countries on October 28th, it appears Apple has opened up online pre-orders, allowing customers to buy an iPhone 4S one week ahead of its scheduled launch next week.
In the 22 countries that will get the iPhone 4S on Friday, October 28th (Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Mexico, Netherlands, Norway, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland), the Apple Online Store has been updated with a new ordering page to buy an iPhone 4S today, and get estimated delivery dates when the item "is added to your cart". This morning, all the international Apple Stores report shipments of 1-2 weeks, and we're hearing customers who pre-ordered an unlocked iPhone 4S in Italy are already receiving emails with estimated delivery between November 3-November 9. We have checked in Netherlands, Luxembourg, Mexico, Singapore, Spain and Czech Republic, and iPhone 4S shipping times are currently set to 1-2 weeks (not a surprise, considering Apple will have to save some stock for its Apple retail stores).
In spite of October 28th being exactly one week away, it seems Apple isn't currently guaranteeing an October 28th delivery date for online pre-orders.
Italian website Meladvice [Google Translation] notes that pre-orders came as a surprise, as Apple's customers support allegedly told them earlier this week pre-orders wouldn't be launched in Italy. Unlocked iPhone 4S pricing in Italy is set at €659 for the 16 GB model, €779 for 32 GB and €899 for thr 64 GB iPhone 4S. Also in Italy, iPhone 4 carriers Tre, Tim and Vodafone have confirmed that they will sell the iPhone 4S once it's available.
Apple launched iPhone 4S pre-orders in the initial 7 launch countries on October 7th, one week ahead of the October 14th launch. The company then reported 1 million pre-orders in 24 hours, and over 4 million sales in the first weekend.