What is the hukm (ruling) for pre-orders of something that has not been launched yet?
بِسْمِ اللهِ الرَّحْمنِ الرَّحِيْم
In the name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful
The word preorder implies paying for an item before delivery of that item or before it exists in the retail market which already has risks attached to it. Preordering something which has not been launched yet is even riskier. It will be the same as selling an intention to a person which is merely abstract and has no guarantee to exist. Such transactions would happen before Islam when a person would sell the fetus of an animal in the womb of the mother. The Prophet (s.a.w.) had clearly prohibited such business because of the unknown time of coming into existence of the goods and the general possibilities of Guroor (deceit) that may exist.
Abdullah bin Umar (r.a.) narrates that the messenger of Allah (s.a.w.) prohibited the selling of the fetus. Ibnu Atheer mentions that the transaction is not allowed because it involves selling an item that has not been created as yet and due to the unsure time that it may come into existence.
Only Allah knows best
Written by Maulana Naieem Mohammad
Checked and approved by Mufti Mohammed Tosir Miah
Darul Ifta Birmingham
 Bukhari,2036,2137,3630 and Muslim,1514
 Al Iqtisaadu Al Islami,pg 22, Abdullah bin Yusuf Al Judai