At midnight tonight, Apple will kick off preorders for their latest and greatest iPhone, the iPhone 4S.
Here’s Cult of Mac’s guide to the best ways to make absolutely sure you get your iPhone 4S preordered right at the stroke of midnight and in your hands next Friday when it officially launches.
Wondering which iPhone 4S to order at midnight? Check out our own recommendation.
Know What Time iPhone 4S Orders Start In Your Location
The world’s a big place, and while iPhone 4S preorders kick off at midnight Cupertino time, depending on where you are, that could be quite a bit later.
Make sure to double check before you set your alarms. I find the easiest way to check the time zone difference is with Wolfram Alpha. Just go over to the link and type:
When it is midnight in Cupertino, CA what time is it in [Your City, State and/or Country]
For example, when I do that search, the results for Boston, MA tell me that when it is midnight in Cupertino, it is 3:00AM in Boston. Easy!
Set Your Alarm For 20 Minutes Ahead Of Time
We don’t really care what kind of alarm you use — the alarm app that comes with your iPhone, one of the many ones on the App Store, a bedside speaker dock or even a good, old fashion clanger — but whichever one you pick, make sure to set it twenty minutes before preorders go up.
Why? A couple of reasons. One, chances are, you’re going to have to wake up early for this, and you want to give yourself enough time to get to the computer if you’re groggy or hit the snooze button by force of habit.
Second? When Apple put up the iPad 2 order page on March 10th of this year, they said they’d put the page up at exactly midnight Cupertino time. However, the page was actually up a good five or ten minutes earlier than that, giving the early birds a first crack at the worm. Considering how hard it was to get an iPad 2 at launch, that ten minute window was enough to mean an extra few days delay in getting an iPad 2 delivered to your door.
So be there early. Apple might not put up the iPhone 4S order page early this time, but better safe than sorry.
Load Up The iPhone 4S Apple.com Page
Not much more to it than that. When midnight hits, this page will change to show a big ‘Buy Now’ link underneath the iPhone 4S header. That’s what you’re looking for.
Refresh, Refresh, Refresh
Look, there’s no way around it: you’re going to have to refresh a lot when it gets close to midnight. Luckily, there are browser extensions that will do this for you. Here are some of the ones we like.
• Google Chrome: Chrome Refresh
• Safari: Autorefresh
• Firefox: ReloadEvery
• Opera: Offers auto-refresh abilities by default. Just right click on the iPhone website and select the Reload Every option.
Once you’ve installed the add-on or extension for your browser, set an interval, telling the browser how often to reload the iPhone 4S page. We suggest every twenty seconds, or three times a minute.
That’s a small enough interval that you’ll be sure to see the link go up as soon as Apple pushes it live, but not so often that you’ll bring Apple’s website to its knees.
Keep Your Fingers Crossed
We’re guessing that there’ll be enough iPhone 4Ses to go around this time: this is more of an upgrade to an existing phone than radical new hardware, and Apple’s had plenty of time to pump out iPhone 4S units. Still, you can never underestimate the popularity of a new Apple product, so sending up a little prayer to whatever deity or spirit you like to believe in never hurts anything.