Yesterday, Apple flicked the switch and turned on in-store pickup for the iPhone 5s. This allowed customers to check inventory 24/7 and reserve an iPhone when one shows up in their local store’s retail shelves. It appears that Apple changed its mind on offering this reservation option so soon after launch and has turned off the feature. Now during checkout, customers can either order online or go to the store to buy a phone with no guarantee one will be available.
In the past, Apple has used its reservation system to make it easy for customers to secure an iPhone at their local store without having to wait for shipping. It is normally not available when an iPhone is launched as Apple sells the phone on first come, first served basis to customers who are waiting in line. Eventually, this reservation option is turned on a few weeks after the launch when the strong demand for a new phone has quieted down.
With shipping dates already extended into October, I would not expect the reservation system for the 5s to go back online anytime soon.