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The ultimate guide to buying the new iPad

Apple store line

We warned you to get your credit cards out and pre-order the new iPad early on so you would avoid having to come to this. But it’s Thursday, and just about 24 hours before national release of the new iPad. Here’s everything you need to prepare for if you’re planning to wait in line for the iPad come 8 A.M March 16:

Know when and where to go

The official Apple retail stores aren’t the only place you can buy an iPad on Friday. Other large retailers include Best Buy, Walmart, AT&T, Verizon and Radio Shack. If you are unsure whether your local electronics store will carry an inventory, call ahead of time and ask. They will most likely have less iPads in stock than the Apple store, and you won’t get to grace the Internet or local television news channel for it, but it’s worth a shot for a shorter line.

While you have them on the phone, you should also ask if they have a time restriction on when customers can begin lining up. Just as how it seems to be an unwritten rule that people start waiting outside retailers approximately 12 hours before Black Friday sales begin, some stores may have safety and fire hazard rules. We know for a fact Apple flagship stores in Hong Kong won’t allow any waiting, and there are no set times in London.

If your store of choice did not specify a time, stop by for a look at what the line is like the night before. The length of that current line should be a good indication of when to start heading out.

Before leaving your house

This may sound silly, but know what iPad you’re going to buy. You might have several hours in line to make up your mind, but have an idea set of what you want once you finally grace the welcoming doors of your preferred retail store. What color iPad do you want? Memory size? Carrier? Wi-Fi or 4G? This isn’t an appropriate time to window shop, though it is perfectly fine to ask to test out the product for a few seconds before you buy it.

It’s going to be a very long night, so make sure you are as comfortable as can be during the wait. Bring foldable chairs, water, snacks, warm hoodies or blanket, a book or two, and of course, your favorite gadgets. If you’re planning to be on your iPhone or handheld gaming console all day, bring extra battery packs so you won’t be bored several hours in with nothing to do. Also look at your weather forecast in case of rain or snow and dress appropriately.

While this is common knowledge, wear comfortable clothes and shoes. Sure, you might get a few seconds on TV, but it’s not a fashion show and most people there won’t care what you look like. Do everyone a favor and take a shower beforehand, or bring extra deodorant. No one likes a smelly Apple fanboy/girl.

Lastly, if you have friends who are also willing to brave the insanity, go together. It will be nice to have company, not to mention the courtesy you’re giving to other patrons waiting when you show up together instead of having one wait first and skipping ahead to where your friend is when you arrive later. Everyone hates that guy. Don’t be him.

Befriend your line-mates

Time passes by a little faster if you’re distracted. You know for a fact everyone is here with the same purpose as you, so strike a conversation to kill time or talk about anything not-Apple related so you can think about something else for a change. Try out a few rounds of Draw Something. It’s a pretty addictive smartphone game that wastes time like no tomorrow.

If you see someone attractive, now is the time to just go for it. Even if it doesn’t work out, it’s not like you have to see that person every again, but if it does, then you’ve got Friday night plans after you go home with a new iPad for a long, well-deserved nap. Not looking for romance? It’s still important to be nice to people around you, because if you start fights or make a scene, it’s very likely that you’ll get thrown out of line and further delay your hands on the new iPad.

Apple allows a purchase of two iPad maximum per person, so you can also try schmoozing with someone near the front of the line to see if they’re only buying one. When you gain some trust, ask them to get two instead and surrender some cash. Try this method out at your own risk!

Bottom line

Whatever you choose to do, keep your sanity level in check. We’ve heard many reports of riots breaking out during big sales like this, and ultimately, it is more important to be safe than to get injured for a shiny new toy. The experience could be fun and once-in-a-lifetime, so make the best out of it and keep calm. You’ll get there eventually.

Image Credit: Flickr / Steve Rhodes