Now that iPhone 5 pre-orders for launch day are sold out at Apple and all three of their US carrier partners, the only way those who didn’t pre-order will be able to get their hands on one tomorrow is to patiently wait in line tomorrow at the official launch.
While stores such as Best Buy, Sam’s Club and Radio Shack will be offering the iPhone 5, their stock will be very limited. Your best chance (and the most fun way) to get an iPhone 5 tomorrow is to go to an Apple Retail Store and wait out the long lines. Here are a few pointers for surviving launch day.
This is the most important factor. When I attended my first iPhone launch, I didn’t know what to expect, and showed up at the Apple Store at 7 AM in the morning. Big mistake. By the time I arrived, the line had reached a truly hideous length. I waited in line for just over 7 hours before finally getting my iPhone, and was fortunate enough to purchase one the very last models that the store had in stock.
Arrive early. The earlier the better. Many people are already beginning to line up, and those are the ones who are most likely to get an iPhone 5 tomorrow.
Bring a friend
If you can convince one of your friends to stand in line with you, do it. Bringing an extra person will ensure you don’t lose your spot if you need to go to the bathroom or decide to visit Starbucks for a cappuccino.
Be prepared for the weather
Whether the forecast predicts rain or shine, be prepared. You could be standing in line for several hours. Consider bringing an umbrella with you to be prepared for either outcome, as it can either shade you or protect you from rain.
Wear good shoes
Can’t stress this enough. You may be standing in line for a very long time, and if you aren’t wearing comfortable shoes, you’re in for a world of hurt. If you love not having blisters, wear the most comfortable pair of shoes you own to the launch.
Only bring what you need to keep yourself entertained and protected from the elements. You’ll hanging around for a while, so bringing along something to do may be helpful. Don’t worry about bringing snacks or water – Apple Store employees do a great job of handing out drinks and snacks to those waiting in line. Last year Apple provided donuts, Starbucks coffee and bottled water to everyone in line at my local Apple Store.
Be social & make friends
Making friends with people in line can make the launch experience more enjoyable. Forming an alliance with others in line can help you keep your spot in line if you need to take a bathroom break, and could provide for some very interesting take-home experiences. One of the people I made friends with at last year’s launch has become a permanent friend that I still keep in contact with even today.
You may already have your heart set on a certain color or model of the iPhone 5, but don’t be too picky. Apple has a limited number of iPhones to sell, and if they’re out of the color or size you set your hopes on, having a backup option, or a backup for your backup option could make the difference between getting a handset and simply wasting hours in line for nothing. Be willing to compromise.
Don’t linger in the Apple Store
Everyone else has been waiting a long time in line, and asking a ton of questions to the Apple Store employees will only make someone else have to wait longer. Be courteous – buy your iPhone and leave the store. You can always come back later or call Apple with any questions you stil have.
Didn’t get one? Try somewhere else.
If you don’t get an iPhone 5 at the Apple Store (they do occasionally run out), try other stores. Best Buy, Target, Radio Shack, and Sam’s Club are also selling the iPhone 5, as well as official stores for Verizon, Sprint and AT&T. Just because you didn’t get one at the Apple Store doesn’t necessarily mean you’re out of luck.
Above all else, try to relax and enjoy yourself. Apple launches can be really fun and exciting events. Apple employees often walk around showing people the new iPhone before they buy it and giving customers high fives. There’s an incredible amount of excitement in that line you’re standing in. You may as well be a part of it.
Good luck! I hope you’re able to buy the iPhone 5 that you want, and don’t have to stand in line too long! Let me know if you have any interesting experiences by sending me an e-mail using the contact information underneath this post!