Obviously, the best way to get the new iPad on launch day was to pre-order it as soon as Apple’s website came back up. That option is now gone and you’re looking at shipping times of 2-3 weeks before you can get a new iPad in your hands.
It’s ok. Despite everything Samsung says, waiting in line for the iPad isn’t that bad. In fact, it can even be a lot of fun. If you’re planning on braving the weather and the crowds Friday morning here is our killer guide on the gear you need to not just survive, but thrive on launch day and walk away with the new iPad model you want.
Get There Early – What time to get there is probably your biggest dilemma. You crave extra hours on your mattress just like everyone else and you’d hate to throw more away than you need to. Don’t worry, you don’t need to be crazy and get there 3 days early. There will be plenty of iPads. Show up around 6am and you should be fine. There will be a line when you get there. You won’t be near the front. But Apple will have enough new iPads in stock and you’ll walk away happy that you weren’t like some of the knuckleheads that showed up at 1a.m.
Dress In Layers
No matter what part of the country you live in, temperatures are going to be chilly early Friday morning. Then once the sun comes up and you’re surrounded by 348 other dudes you’re going to get warmer. We suggest dressing in layers for added comfort. Don’t have a good hoodie? Old Navy’s got some decent looking ones on sale right now for $19.
Bring A Chair
Waiting in line isn’t torturous once you have a chair and entertainment. Right now you can buy a cheap folding lawn chair (pictured on the left) from Target for $13. It’s not great, but if you’re on a budget it’ll do. We recommend you upgrade and get the Travel Folding Chair for $22 at Target (pictured on the right). It’s comfortable and has a bag you can stow it in once the line starts moving. Just sling it over your shoulder when you enter the Apple store and save yourself trip to the car. Plus it’s got a drink holder for your Mountain Dew.
Read A Book
Waiting in line while sitting in your comfy chair, wrapped in the warmth of your hoodie, is the perfect time to acquaint yourself with some excellent literature. 60% of the people reading books in line will probably be trying to finish the recent Steve Jobs bio. Be different and read something that is a lot cooler than a biography. Pick up Jennifer Egan’s latest novel A Visit From The Goon Squad from Barnes and Noble for $10. It’s freaking awesome and it won the Pulitzer so you’ll look sophisticated as well. Plus, Egan dated ElJobso himself back in the day, so in someways it’s Apple related.
A few lucky guys in line will get to sit a few feet away from an electrical outlet and can play on their iPhone all morning long. Odds are you won’t win the electrical outlet sweepstakes and your iPhone battery will be dead two hours before you get inside the Apple Store. If you’re constantly running out of iPhone juice you should pick-up a Mophie Juice Pack Air to add 6 more hours to your battery life. If the Mophie’s $80 price tag is too steep for you though, you might get by with the Duracell Instant Power Charger available for $25 at a number of retail locations.
Snacks & Drinks
Apple treats customers waiting in line really well and usually provides an assortment of edibles and beverages for the brave souls waiting in line. However, if you are a picky and only like to eat your Star Wars Fruit Snacks, then we suggest you bring your own bag to prevent any extra grumpiness that may result from their absence in your life.
There’s going to be tons of Apple fans there who have the same passion for Apple toys that you do. Enjoy being surrounded by other members of the Cult of Mac. Swap Apple stories. Meet new people. Invite strangers to play you in a game of Scrabble. No one really wants to wait for hours just get their hands on a new tablet computer, but here you guys are, so make the most of it and have fun.
Don’t worry about bringing your MacBook. It’s extra weight that you don’t need, plus it’s great to disconnect for a while before you binge on the retina goodness of the new iPad. Make sure to check the weather the day before you go. Bring a friend to wait in line with you so you can take turns wandering around the mall rather than sitting the entire time. Once you get inside the Apple Store don’t linger. Make it snappy, purchase your new iPad and get out so the Apple staff can help the other 800 people behind you. If the Apple Store doesn’t have anymore stock you can always try AT&T, Verizon, or Best Buy.
Well my friends, we’ve prepared you for the lines as best we can. Now go forth and conquer.