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The new Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) iPad goes on sale Friday morning at 8 a.m., which is great news is you missed the pre-order, but those hoping to get a new iPad on March 16 are going to have to pay their dues in the form of waiting. Friday shoppers should be prepared to queue for hours, maybe even an entire day. Some are already camped outside Apple stores. If you think you’re just crazy enough to try it, then let self-proclaimed “line-waiting expert” Roberto Baldwin share his tips and tricks for getting your iPad without going crazy…
Baldwin recently told Wired magazine readers to avoid flagship stores, as the lines will usually be significantly longer than an “outlier store.” Baldwin also says shoppers might consider checking out AT&T (NYSE:T), Verizon (NYSE:VZ), Best Buy (NYSE:BBY), Target (NYSE:TGT), or Walmart (NYSE:WMT), all of which will be selling the iPad on Friday, though buyers should check with their local stores for availability first, as these retailers typically have fewer iPads in stock than Apple Stores.
You might be amped to pound some Red Bull and camp in a parking lot, but some stores have restrictions on how soon customers can line up. Baldwin suggests calling ahead, especially if you target store is inside a mall. No matter how early you get there, they’re probably not going to let you in until 6 a.m.
If you’re not really into the idea of sleeping on the sidewalk with a bunch of strangers, Baldwin adds that he’s arrived at Apple lines about 90 minutes prior to the store opening and never been turned away without a new product. Of course, he wasn’t in the front of the line, but he was also able to get a good night’s sleep.
Because the iPad launches on a Friday, there’s bound to be more than a few of you who will be taking time off work to make sure you get that iPad on day one. Baldwin suggests you don’t call in sick — you could end up on a local newscast, and your boss wouldn’t be too happy with you for that. Instead he says people should consider starting their workday late, or simply use a vacation day. If that iPad is so important, by all means, give up a day at the beach.
You might be surprised at how many people come to these things unprepared — they might remember snacks, but they forget the sunscreen, or they remember their favorite gadgets, but forget to charge them. Make a list and check it twice. And it never hurts to bring a little something extra for making friends. If you’re going to be in line with these people all night, you want to get along, otherwise the guy behind you might be the one trampling you on his way to the door come 8 a.m.
The wait is going to be long, it’s going to be grueling — that is, unless you decide stroll in 90 minutes early as Baldwin has been able to do in the past — so make sure you’re comfortable. Even those waiting for just 90 minutes might want to bring a chair; one of those lightweight collapsible beach chairs would be best, but if you feel like lugging your La-Z-Boy, more power to you.
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