Surviving an Apple launch day lineup

So you didn’t get your pre-order placed in time, or just now decided to purchase the new third-gen iPad/iPhone 5/insert future Apple product here. Guess what? You’ve just sentenced yourself to hours of waiting outside a retail store for your chance to own one—but don’t despair. Using these simple tips, your time standing in line will at least be a little more tolerable, if not downright fun.

First things first: bring entertainment. If you already have an iPhone, iPod, or iPad, it should work perfectly to keep you occupied, especially if you’re outside an Apple Store or some other establishment that’s offering free Wi-Fi so you don’t chew through your data allotment. If not, bring whatever you have—a book, magazine, something. Also, be sure to bring a bag with a drinks and snacks. Standing around for long periods of time can make you hungrier than you think, and no, the mall food court isn’t going to be open at 4:30 a.m.

On a somewhat related note, don’t forget to make friends who will hold your spot in line for you when nature calls—sounds like common courtesy, but if you’ve not-so-quietly been making fun of the guy behind you’s questionable taste in fashion, you may be left in a precarious position later on. Also, if the location where you’re planning to purchase your device is in a mall, find out whether they allow chairs, and if they do—or if you’re going to be waiting outside a non-mall location—bring one! You’d be amazed how much more comfortable a chair is than the ground.

Finally, take every freebee you get offered. At many Apple launches, Apple Store employees—and sometimes employees from other nearby establishments—will come around to offer you water, coffee, and, if you’re really lucky, food. Take it. Even if you don’t think you’re thirsty/hungry right at the moment, you will be later. Trust us. We’ve been through a few of these ourselves.

Charles Starrett

Charles Starrett was a senior editor at iLounge. He's been covering the iPod, iPhone, and iPad since their inception. He has written numerous articles and reviews, and his work has been featured in multiple publications.