Dominate The Line Outside The Apple Store & Get A New iPad Before Anyone [Survival Guide]


Don't get overwhelmed by the lines, just follow our Launch Day guide

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.


Battery Power

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.



Have Fun

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.

Parting words…

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.


  • jayjaytee

    Another option: get a life. No gadget, not even an Apple gadget (and I love Apple gadgets), is worth putting your life on hold for hours or days.

  • haineux

    I braved the line, last time, to get an iPad 2. I showed up at noon for a 5 pm sale, and had lots of fun talking with people.

    Was it worth it? Sure!

    Will I do it again? Maybe when Apple announces the iPad 5 or something.

    BTW, these tips are good. My tip: I think smaller Apple stores will have shorter lines.

  • zendiesel

    I imagine one could have a lot of fun standing in line if you have a bunch of cool friends to share the experience with.  Unfortunately for me, my friends are Android fanboys, so pre-ordering was in store for me.

  • Timothy Williamson

    I stood in line for the iPhone 4, got there at 4:30a and was out by 8a, it was kinda boring but worth it. Had a fold-up chair and my iPhone to keep me occupied. I’ll probably be in line for iPhone 5 (“new” iPhone) release but not for the “new” iPad.

  • Jdsonice

    Sounds like fun. I guess I will miss it since I was able to get my new iPad (Black, Wi-Fi, 64GB) ordered on day 1. It is sitting on a pallet in Nashville TB in a FedEx location waiting for its ride to my grubby hands. :-)

    But I might take it and walk around the line just to have some fun. 

  • Slash_Cynic

    I didn’t pre-order but plan on leisurely strolling into the nearest Apple store in NYC in a few weeks after the launch and picking one up. No gadget is worth waiting hours in line for.

  • Shravan Gupta

    walmart !! i got my iPad 2 after waiting 45 minutes, no line and only 6 other people, don’t pick the biggest walmart you can think of, pick a small walmart but call ahead and make sure they’re gonna have it

    no joke, 45 mins !

  • djrobsd

    Not even close to being worth it..  What a waste of your life.  

  • makebeatz

    You wont have it in your “grubby hands” until long after the lines have subsided

  • Alex

    As I got older I realized life is short ….  And there are a million better things to do then stand in line for something you can get delivered to my house…. 

  • skeeterharris

    This is great – Too funny!  Keep up the good work

  • divd

    I’ve been an Apple fan since 1989, which lets you know that I am not exactly a young person any more. Actually, I am 60+ and female. But I decided to stand in line for the iPhone 4. Some may think this is a waste of time, but I have to say it was a very enjoyable experience. As was mentioned, you are surrounded with people who love Apple as much as you do, so you have a lot of things you can talk about. In my area we were all different ages, and it was not an issue at all. And the 10 hrs 15 minutes was very enjoyable. I even ran into one of the guys at Trader Joe’s a couple of years later. It’s a real treat, just like getting in line for the Steve Jobs keynote in San Francisco at 5:30am used to be. However, I will also say, if you are my age, 10 hrs 15 minutes in line, with no chair, is not exactly a good idea, enjoyable or not. Will I do it again? Probably not. But I don’t regret the time I did. 

  • Django Spaghetti-O’s

    Elbows. They are put there for a reason. Now is the time to use them. 

  • Aber1Kanobee

    Why do you give a shit what other people do with their time if is doesn’t affect you? go ef yourself.

  • chuckriver

    Isn’t the whole idea of having a computer and an internet connection so that you don’t have to wait in line?
    So that you have more time to meet friends etc ?
    We are not all queueing up outside the ITunes App Store are we?
    Lets make use of the technology, Please !

  • AryuGaetu

    Idiots – Just drive to any Best Buy, AT&T, or Verizon store, especially in the rural areas. No lines no matter what time of day. When the Apple stores run out, these places have tons in stock. My friends and I have done that with our iPhones. We had to drive a whole 30 minutes (and had some excellent BBQ for just $3 across the street). City folk are just like lemmings… with the brains removed.

  • tornacious

    Best Buy is a much better call than an Apple store, or Target, Walmart, ATT, Verizon, etc. They always have tons of stock and way shorter lines than Apple stores. I’ve done that for the iPhone 3G, iPhone 4, iPad, and iPad 2 and was glad I did.