The pre-order process was awful. I had the day off, so I woke up at 7:55 a.m. EDT to log in and pre-order a saved “favorite”. It took a few tries but I got to the order screen (got a bad gateway error which an F5 solved), and finally got to the AppleCard application, as I wanted to use their two free years to pay for it. That was the disaster part. It timed out multiple times, and I finally got a screen saying that an AppleCard Specialist was reviewing my application and would reach out if necessary. I tried a few more times, and finally gave up. Then, I had my wife try it (she already has an AppleCard), and it succeeded, but by that time, the delivery date had dropped to 10/30 (from 10/23). I tried later that day (just to see if it would work) and it still failed. It finally worked Sunday afternoon and I was approved, but I didn’t finalize the order, as we already have the one coming that my wife ordered.
I tried to apply a few days beforehand, but you have to do it from an iOS device, or when checking out with a purchase. I’m switching from Android and don’t have an iOS device. I had considered resetting my wife’s old iPhone 7, and applying beforehand, and I should have, but at the time she didn’t seem keen on me resetting her device (although I apparently misunderstood her hesitancy, and she was actually fine with it).
Moral of the story? If you ever want to pay with an AppleCard and you’re not already approved, find a way to get approved beforehand, and not the day of the pre-order.