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Apple opens up pre-approval for iPhone X buyers in iPhone Upgrade Program

People in Apple's annual iPhone Upgrade Program can now get their loans pre-approved ahead of this Friday's iPhone X preorders, a critical step if they want a chance at getting one of the few launch-day units likely to be available.

The process involves opening the Apple Store iOS app and selecting a configuration. The app will then explain the monthly cost over two years, which is $49.91 for 64 gigabytes or $56.16 for 256 gigabytes. The Upgrade Program does include an AppleCare+ warranty however, which among other things reduces the cost of accident repairs.

Pre-approval doesn't ensure an iPhone X is coming, so people will still need to return to the app starting at 12:01 a.m. Pacific time (3:01 a.m. Eastern) on Friday to actually submit a preorder.

Unlike 2016, Upgrade Program members will this year be able to go through the same order process as other customers, rather than having to reserve a device at a local store. To trade in an old iPhone — a condition of the program — the company is handing out free mail-in kits once an X ships.

Owing to production bottlenecks related to the phone's TrueDepth camera, the iPhone X is expected to be in very short supply, possibly selling out of launch-day stocks within a matter of minutes. While those bottlenecks could be resolved by the end of the year, Apple typically isn't expect to equalize supply and demand until early 2018.