iPhone 5c pre-orders to begin at 12:01am PT

If you've been dying to get your hands on one of Apple's colorful new iPhones, be near a web browser when the clock strikes midnight (PT) tonight.

Update: The iPhone 5c is now available for pre-order.

During its announcement Tuesday, Apple promised to begin taking pre-orders for the new iPhone 5c on September 13, and sure enough, the floodgates are getting ready to swing open at 12:01am PT (3:01am ET). 

The "How To Buy" link on the iPhone 5c product page currently points to a placeholder on the Apple online store at http://store.apple.com/us/iphone that's currently occupied by a "We'll be back" placeholder that animates in the nine languages of the initial launch countries. (According to Apple the phones will be available in over 100 countries by December).

Apple's iconic "We'll be back" note at it's online store - Jason O'Grady

While Apple didn't provide a precise launch time for iPhone 5c pre-orders, a cue can be taken from its U.S. carrier partners AT&TVerizon and Sprint who are all promoting pre-orders beginning at midnight Pacific Time on Friday morning.

AT&T's iPhone page is currently re-directing to a colorful countdown timer (copy: "This is the right place, you're just a little early"), confirming a midnight PT launch:

AT&T's teaser for the iPhone 5c notes that "This is the right place, you're just a little early" - Jason O'Grady

While the new 5c is mostly a re-branded iPhone 5 hardware-wise, the new design, bright colors and iOS 7 are expected to make the new entry-level iPhone a commercial success. I'm staying up to pre-order a white 32GB iPhone 5c (on AT&T) for my wife, who's due for an upgrade to a tired iPhone 4 that's been dropped in the pool one too many times. I'll probably order her 5c directly from Apple (as opposed to AT&T) but that's what tabs are for.

One minor nit about the iPhone 5c colors. I typically buy my wife the white iPhone, while I go with black (it makes it easy to tell them apart on the kitchen counter), but the iPhone 5c – regardless of what color plastic you choose – has a black bezel on the front. I know that it's nit picky but the black front bezel definitely looks strange with the white rear. Apple should have gone with white fronts on the iPhone 5c to make the colors pop a little more, but I digress...

All iPhone 5c models are black in front, which looks a little off in my book - Jason O'Grady

As for me, I'm sticking it out another week for the iPhone 5s (which goes on sale on September 20) so that I can tinker with the Touch ID fingerprint sensor and take tons of kid pictures with the new camera. I personally don't plan to play much Infinity Blade III, so the 64-bit architecture and A7 processor may be overkill, but I could definitely see the M7 coprocessor replacing all those rubbish plastic bands I used to wear on my wrist. (Those things are awful.)

The iPhone 5c will be available for pre-order in 5 colors for $99 (16GB) and $199 (32GB) with a two-year agreement in the U.S. You can check your upgrade eligibility at your carrier's website by logging into your account. An unlocked, contract free iPhone 5c will be available through T-Mobile for $549 (16GB) and $649 (32GB). Matching swiss-cheese cases will be offered in six colors for $29 each, further complicating the decision-making process.

So, are you pre-ordering an iPhone 5c? What color, configuration and carrier? Why aren't you spending the extra $100 on the iPhone 5s?