Don’t look to stand in line at Apple Store for new iPhone, they won’t let you

It wasn’t that long ago that people camped out in front of Apple Stores for days to be the first on their blocks with new iPhones.

That’s not going to happen this weekend. Not in the COVID-19 era.

With new iPhone 12 and 12 Pro units ready for sale, beginning 8 a.M. Friday, if lines start to form, Apple employees will hand out reservation forms with time slots for people to return later.

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Apple says it doesn’t want to see people crowded together outside their stores, and will take action to make sure it doesn’t happen.

Apple is taking several other steps to keep customers safer with new ways to shop over the weekend. At its retail stores, Apple points out that face masks and temperature checks are mandatory, and that it will limit occupancy to keep people from jamming together.

► Direct support. Online chat or phone calls with with an Apple specialist are being offered to get personalized sales information about the new products. Calls can be arranged on Apple’s website: https://www.Apple.Com/shop.

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► Contactless delivery. Customers don’t have to enter the Apple Stores, where kiosks will be set up by the front to hand deliveries directly to customers. This service is called “Express Storefront.” Apple suggests checking in at its website apple.Com/retail to find out which services are available locally.

► No signatures. Signatures are no longer required for deliveries, but you’ll still need to be around to pick it up. Apple says delivery drivers “may ask for verbal confirmation from a safe distance,” replacing the need for a physical signature.

► Saving money. Apple reminds that members of its Apple Card get 3% back on iPhone purchases, ($24 on the $799 iPhone 12, or $30 on the $999 iPhone 12) and that its offering monthly, interest-free installments over a 24-month basis. This offer is only to users of the Apple Card. For details, go here: https://www.Apple.Com/apple-card/monthly-installments/.

Beyond the two new iPhones and iPad Air going on sale this weekend, Apple has two more iPhones coming in November, the iPhone 12 Mini – a smaller version of the iPhone 12 – and the iPhone 12 Pro Max, which touts a larger camera sensor and bigger zoom than the Pro model.

Follow USA TODAY’s Jefferson Graham (@jeffersongraham) on Twitter.

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