10 Ways to Score an iPhone 4 on Launch Day

 
 
By Don Reisinger  |  Posted 2010-06-22 Email Print this article Print
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

News Analysis: The iPhone 4 could be one of the most desired technology products to hit store shelves in years. And trying to find one in stores on June 24 will be difficult. But there are some strategies consumers can follow to get their hands on the smartphone that day.

With the iPhone 4 launching on June 24, consumers and even some enterprise customers are undoubtedly excited to finally get their hands on Apple's new smartphone. Such excitement is understandable. The device is arguably the best iPhone, at least on paper, that Apple has ever released. Not only does it run the company's new iOS 4, which boasts multitasking, it includes a new feature called Face Time, which allows users to place video calls over WiFi. And thanks to a new and improved display, the fidelity of the iPhone 4's touch screen should be second to none.

But most folks already know that. Now, they want to know how they can get their hands on an iPhone 4 on June 24. For some, preordering was the way to go. Those that were lucky enough to get through the trials of preordering an iPhone 4 on June 15 should have their smartphones in-hand that day. But those that weren't lucky enough to get through or simply don't want to wait until July to get the iPhone 4, need to find a way to buy one in-store on June 24. Admittedly, it will be a difficult task. Apple has said that it and its retail partners will have a small number of available iPhones for those that drop into the store. But they will be there. And they will go to the people that have the best strategy for getting one.

Let's take a look at 10 strategies that customers should follow if they want to get an iPhone 4 on launch day.

1. Get in line early

The first thing that anyone who wants to get an iPhone 4 on launch day should do is get in line at a store as early as possible. As previous releases of the iPhone have shown, those that get to stores early have a much better chance of getting their hands on a smartphone. Apple plans to have a small number of available iPhones in its retail outlets on launch day. That means that users in the top 20 are probably guaranteed to get their hands on an iPhone 4. But being in that top 20 will be extremely difficult. It requires getting in line extremely early. In fact, most customers might want to consider lining up the night before the iPhone 4 launches.

2. Get ready to pay up

It might not be ideal, but if customers want an iPhone 4 badly enough, they can always show up a few minutes before the doors at the Apple Store open and hand over some cash to folks toward the front of line. It seems that every year, some people are content to stand in line and wait for someone else to come up to them, pay them to take their spot, and walk away. Admittedly, those spots fetch some serious cash. And only the most ardent Apple fans will buy a spot in that line. But there is always that option. It just depends on whether a spot in an iPhone 4 line is really worth $500 to someone.

3. Go for a long drive

Although the big Apple Store could be right down the road, those that get their hands on the iPhone 4 on launch day will be going to places where there isn't so much foot traffic. That's a key component in the success or failure of folks getting their iPhones on launch day. Everyone will be going to stores in major areas, meaning there will be long lines. But in out-of-the-way areas where stores aren't so popular, there is a greater chance of getting an iPhone 4. Simply put, getting an iPhone 4 is a numbers game.

4. Check eBay, Craigslist listings

As soon as customers buy an iPhone 4 on launch day, they do one of two things: open it up and start using it, or put it on eBay or Craigslist to turn a quick profit. Although customers will end up paying more for the device, buying an iPhone 4 on eBay doesn't seem like such a bad idea. After all, it eliminates the need to stand in line and allows users to get it sooner, rather than later. Expect to pay a premium when buying an iPhone 4 online, but those that want it badly enough can certainly use it as an option.

5. Go to Best Buy or Walmart

Best Buy and Walmart are two of the many retail partners that Apple has inked deals with. And although Radio Shack might seem like a good place to go to pick up an iPhone 4, Best Buy or Walmart could be ideal. Both companies will have iPhones available in their stores on a first-come, first-serve basis. And considering most folks have been conditioned over the past few years to go to either Apple or AT&T retail outlets to get an iPhone 4 on launch day, the crowd might not be as big at either of the big-box retail outlets. That doesn't mean that iPhone buyers can walk into a Best Buy store when it opens, but it could make for a slightly easier time of getting an iPhone 4.

6. Don't waste time at Apple stores


The last thing consumers should do on June 24 is try their luck at an Apple Store. Yes, there is a chance that they will be able to get in line and buy a device before it's released, but the vast majority of customers will be going to an Apple Store to pick up an iPhone 4. Realizing that, it's best to keep away from those locations. Those that don't follow the tech industry so closely will only know of one place where they might be able to buy an iPhone 4 on launch day: Apple stores. Stay away from those stores. It's a smart move.

7. Wait for folks on the way out

As mentioned, there are two types of iPhone customers on launch day: those that want to use the device, and those that want to sell it. Realizing that, waiting for customers that are willing to sell their iPhone 4 could be a solid strategy for most customers. Simply wait outside for someone to come out and ask them if they want to sell their iPhone 4. The vast majority of folks might not, but there are always some who wait outside stores just to do so. But beware: in previous years, some iPhone sellers have been asking nearly double the price of the iPhone 4's MSRP. 

8. Remember the past

When deciding what to do on iPhone 4 launch day, it's always a good idea to take a step back and evaluate how things went years ago. Each year, the iPhone's demand has steadily risen. On launch day back in 2007, consumers were able to walk into stores and pick up a new iPhone the very day it was released. In future years, only those that were quick enough to get to an Apple store or AT&T outlet in the morning were able to get their hands on Apple's smartphone. This year, a similar scenario will likely play out. Potential iPhone 4 owners should go back and look to see when customers were lining up last year. Based on that information, they should line up a few hours sooner. Demand really is that high.

9. Be prepared to go to multiple places

Those expecting to stay in one spot for an iPhone 4 could be in for a rude awakening. In the vast majority of cases, stores offering first-come, first-serve iPhones will have a very small number of available units. Realizing that, potential iPhone buyers should expect to go to multiple locations before they finally find a single place where the iPhone 4 is available. Yes, it might be a headache, but that's the reality of trying to get an iPhone 4 on launch day.

10. Work in teams

iPhone 4 customers should work in teams. By having more than one person out searching for an iPhone 4 at different locations, potential buyers can down on the chances of missing a device at another retail outlet. One person can go to the Apple Store, the other person can go to a Best Buy location, and maybe another person can try an out-of-the-way spot. If it's just one or two iPhones they're looking for, the chances of getting one of Apple's smartphones on June 24 are that much higher.


 
 
 
 
Don Reisinger is a freelance technology columnist. He started writing about technology for Ziff-Davis' Gearlog.com. Since then, he has written extremely popular columns for CNET.com, Computerworld, InformationWeek, and others. He has appeared numerous times on national television to share his expertise with viewers. You can follow his every move at http://twitter.com/donreisinger.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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