In brief: Following a sharp rise in cases over the last few weeks, England entered its second major lockdown today, which sees non-essential businesses closed until at least December 2. But Apple stores won't be shuttering completely; they will operate a Storefront service that lets customers collect their orders in person.
England's restrictions (Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland have different policies) aren't quite as strict as the summer lockdown in that schools and universities are staying open---so far. Bars, gyms, restaurants, and other non-essential businesses must close for at least four weeks, which means we won't see the usual long lines outside of Apple stores waiting for the iPhone 12 when it launches on November 13.
Luckily for Apple and other retailers that offer a similar service, customers can still buy products using "click-and-collect." In-store browsing is prohibited, and there's no Genius bar.
"Apple's Express storefronts allow customers to collect online orders at a safe and convenient pickup window," the company said in a statement to iMore. "Browsing the store is not permitted, and service is offered only with a reserved time slot. Click-and-collect service allows for the same convenient pickup of orders and returns, but Genius Support is unavailable. Apple has not updated the status of the iPhone Upgrade Program, which is only available in-store in the UK."
France went into a similar lockdown last week (October 29), which will last until at least December 1. Apple is operating a click-and-collect service in that country, too.
9To5Mac writes that Apple has added Express storefronts to more than 50 locations across the US, France, Canada, and the UK as of November 4.
The safer and likely easier option for those in locked-down countries would be to use a contactless delivery service, but at least there's an option to collect iPhones in person, should you wish. It'll be interesting to see how much of an effect the lockdowns have on initial iPhone 12 sales.
In the UK, the iPhone 12 will have slightly slower 5G and be more expensive than in the US. Apple has also changed the position of the regulatory body markings
Main image credit: @jgrano305