Apple has started sending out the iPhone 8.

The mobiles are now on their way to the people who will be among the first to get their hands on them. As well as the iPhones, the new Apple Watch and Apple TV are being sent out by the company ahead of the Friday release date, according to multiple customers.

The premium iPhone X, which was unveiled at the same event, isn't being sent out yet – and isn't even available for order. That phone's release date will come on 3 September, and pre-orders will open a week before that, but analysts expect there'll be very few available on those dates.

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The iPhone 8 is going to be in much more plentiful supply, in part because it is far more similar to the existing iPhone 7. As well as those who have ordered early online, Apple is expected to be selling the new handset in its retail stores and online from the release date on Friday.

That will mean that there's unlikely to be the long lines that often snake out of Apple Stores around release day. And it's still possible to buy an iPhone 8 ready for the release date online.

Apple hasn't actually said officially that those phones that are now being shipped have actually been sent out. Instead, customers are receiving notifications from shipping company UPS, which will be delivering the phones.

But the early despatch doesn't necessarily mean that the phones will be arriving early. Even those phones that are being sent out now still say they will be delivered by the release date on Friday, and it's expected that they may even be held up by shipping companies until that day.

Many of the iPhones are being sent out to US customers in Pennsylvania. The Apple TV and Watches are being sent from China, according to shipment documents.

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