Would like advice and experiences of 1st day iphone store experience.

Discussion in 'iPhone' started by SlyMac, Sep 19, 2012.

  1. SlyMac macrumors 6502


    Jun 16, 2008
    I didn't pre-order my iphone like I usually do because I wasn't sure if I wanted to upgrade from the 4s. After hearing all about it I changed my mind and plan on either going to the :apple: store or ATT store friday morning.

    With that being said, what are your experiences with 1st day crowds for the iphone at both the :apple: store and/or carrier stores? Which would you recommend I try to not only ensure I get the black 32GB version I want but also encounter the least amount of headach? Thanks.
  2. Inf4life macrumors regular


    Jul 6, 2008
    Houston, Tx
    Show up by 1am and you can usually get a phone, especially at a carrier. Apple store you may need to back that up a couple hours. Bring a chair, reading material or an iPad.
  3. BurntReality macrumors 6502


    Jun 21, 2010
    Tyler, TX
    I think a lot of it will depend on where you live. If you live in a major city, it will be a little tougher to grab one.

    When the iPhone 4 got released I was able to get it launch day from an AT&T store at around 2 PM. There was no line or anything. I live in somewhat of a smaller town, so this probably played a part in that.
  4. BlueKhufu macrumors regular

    Nov 27, 2010
    For the 4s I didn't preorder. At midnight I drove to the nearest apple store, saw two people, so I went home to bed. I woke up at 5am, went to the store again, saw a much longer line, decided to see if the AT&T store was any better. I was the first one in line around 6am. By opening (I believe it was 8am) the line wrapped around the building (this was a large AT&T store, not one of the small strip mall stores), but people were able to walk in later in the day and pick one up. I suspect it will not be as easy this year, based on nothing but my own gut feeling.
  5. DMHmac macrumors member

    Sep 13, 2012
    What changed your mind? I think you may have been caught up in the hype and end up regretting it.

    I, personally, think that staying with the 4s is fine. It's lightening fast and is compatible with all IOS 6 features.
  6. SlyMac thread starter macrumors 6502


    Jun 16, 2008
    I was affraid that I'd have to get there early like that.


    In the houston area, big city. there are 3-4 apple stores within a reasonable distance and countless carrier stores.


    Not really caught up in the hype. I knew the iphone 5 would have a larger screen but didnt think I wanted to use my upgrade to get it. After mulling it over, decided that I wanted the larger screen while also being pressured by my gf to give her my 4s.
  7. Fusion79 macrumors 6502

    Feb 12, 2011
    Omaha, NE
    I would say your best chance is going to a carrier store. They don't get as big of lines as apple stores so you are probably ok just going 2-3 hrs before opening and being fine. Of course your area could be different, but around here my experience is lines at carrier stores are fairly small.
  8. BlueKhufu macrumors regular

    Nov 27, 2010
    The AT&T store I was referring to was on Sawdust road off 45. They had massive stock and not much line.. I think most people went to the woodlands mall apple store in this area.
  9. Blueline29 macrumors 68020


    Jun 16, 2009
    Indian Rocks Beach, FL
    I went to an Apple store for the iP4 launch. It was in a mall, so there were restrictions as to what time people were allowed to queue up--they weren't allowing anyone on mall property before 5 am. I got there a touch before 5 and was able to get into the parking lot; once 5:00 hit, it was a freaking stampede to line up. People were dodging cars. Total chaos. I was probably 200th or so in line (bad parking spot) before they separated the lines into those with reservations and those without (I had one). After the split, I was probably 150th. Ugh.

    After they let us into the mall, they started off taking only those with reservations, but that didn't last long. They then started alternating taking in walk-ins and those with reservations. Our phones were secure and were in no danger of being given away, but it took ONE HELL of a lot longer to move through the line, especially since they were setting up everyone's phones individually. Why they couldn't have a separate line for those of us who know WTF we're doing is beyond me. I got out of there at around 12:30 or so. All in all, it was a pain in the ass, but I enjoyed having the experience. I'd always wanted to see what a launch day at an Apple store was like, and now I have.

    For the 3GS, I preordered in an AT&T store for store pickup. I rolled up to the line at something like 6:30 (I want to say they opened early, at 7, for the launch, but I could be wrong). They'd already split the line into walk-ins and preorders, but I was the first preorder to show up. I was first in the store and got on the local news. Ha ha. Outta there in about 20 minutes, and that was including issues with transferring from my Blackberry over to the iPhone. Very smooth other than that.
  10. SlyMac thread starter macrumors 6502


    Jun 16, 2008
    Thanks for this. I live close enough to that location that I may drive by at about 1-2am and see what the line is like. I have to catch a flight at 3:30pm so I need to make sure I'm out by noon.
  11. kds786 macrumors regular


    Jun 25, 2010
    I went to a Wal-Mart to get my iPhone 4. I decided on one that was in a more...how should I say it...technologically challenged town with people who I assumed wouldn't be ones to wait in line in the wee hours of the morning for a phone. I was right. I called ahead to check the number of phones and types. They had 2 phones. Only 2. I waited in the store from about 3 or 4 am to 8 am when it was released. I was the first and only person in line until about 6 or so. Then one other guy showed up. About 7 am ten people or so showed up, but they didn't get a phone, sadly. Very easy and if I were to wait again on launch day, I'd go to a small-town Wal-Mart. I'd like to experience the crazies at the Apple store, but mine is 2 hours away. :)
  12. BrownManUPS macrumors 6502a


    Jul 30, 2007
    I reserved the iPhone 4 to pick up at the store. They weren't doing "pre-ordering" I think for that phone. I knew that even if I reserved it, I had to arrive early to the store as I suspected many others would be doing the same.

    I arrived at the Keystone store at 5am, I think. At the time, there were cops outside the entrance to the mall closest to the Apple Store. They were telling people to stay out of the entire parking lot area until they opened the line up. At about 6:00am, they "opened" the lot and people RAN to the door. Some people were hiding in the bushes to sneak up to the line.

    We then stood in line for about 3 hours until the store opened at 9am. Lots of friendliness and cool people. I didn't bring coffee which was pissing me off at some point -- I recommend carrying a backpack with some breakfast item and some double shots.

    The Apple Store people were clapping and cheering and all that. They handed out smart water and snacks to people. The line was split between people who hadn't preordered and people who had. The non-preorder line extended around the mall to the parking lot 1000 ft away. The pre-order line was much shorter. I suspect that the same will be true this Friday.

    So in conclusion, be prepared to wait but its not too bad. It's really fun to be "the first"... TV people come and interview people (I was).


    I echoed this experience above... pretty much happened the same way at Keystone being in a mall. It's a really big mad dash to get in line. After that you are secure. And especially since you paid for the right to have one on Day 1, you are guaranteed a phone (I would suspect).
  13. dreamteam macrumors member

    Jul 5, 2007
    You should really ask this question locally. Every city, every store will be a little different.

    I live in the San Jose, CA area. I have gotten every iPhone on launch day.

    iPhone OG - I lined up at AT&T store around 5 hours before launch. Was probably #50ish in line. The process at AT&T was sooooo slow. I kept hearing friends that lined up at Apple stores to get their phones pretty quick. After that day, I vowed to never get the iPhone at a carrier store. Apple stores are far more efficient, and will always have a larger stock.

    iPhone 3G - I lined up at Apple store 4 hours before launch. I would say I was around #150-175. This was at the Apple store in Valley Fair mall. If you're familiar with the area, you'll know this is probably the most popular Apple store in the Silicon Valley area. This is where Woz goes during launch days. Experience was great!!! Line went fast, purchase went smooth.

    iPhone 3GS - I was actually on the fence about getting this upgrade. I left for lunch about an hour early and went to Valley Fair Mall Apple store to check out the crowd and possibly look at the phone. To my surprise, the line was about 10-15 deep only. So what the hell, I got in line and got me a phone! Haha. Crazy thing is when I left the store, the line jumped to about 200+! Everyone must have been planning to pick up an iPhone during lunch.

    iPhone 4 - Just for the experience, a friend & I decided to camp out for this release. We picked a lesser known Apple store (Oakridge Mall in San Jose). We showed up around 10PM and was already like #100 in line. Insane! The Apple store in this mall is pretty small, so the line went ridiculously slow! I think it took us 5 hours after they opened for us to finally get in the store.

    I'm too old for this, so I started to do the smart thing... pre-order! For the 4S & 5, I have pre-ordered.
  14. Namji macrumors 6502a


    Aug 13, 2010
    If you want to buy your iPhone at the carriers store or Apple Store, consider how much population / people live in your area...

    If you live in the country then no.. you most likely will not have any issues with getting your iPhone.. if you live in NYC area's good luck...
  15. choi3781 macrumors member

    Jun 26, 2011
    It all depends on your location. I've done it twice before. If you're in a metropolitan area, it would be to get there at least at 4am - and there might be quite a few people ahead of you but you WILL get a phone. As others mentioned, some malls have different policies. One mall I went to allowed overnight campers. I showed up at 4am and was probably 50th in line, and this was at one of the busiest apple locations in all of Los Angeles.

    Carrier stores are a huge gamble because you don't know how limited their supply is. Apple stores have WAY more supply - they will go through hundreds of people and still have plenty left (but you might have to wait awhile). Now if you show up late morning/afternoon to a busy apple store, you are really cutting it too close and there could be 500 people ahead of you by that time.

    If you live in a pretty rural location, finding the obscure carrier store is an AWESOME play. I'd still get there early but you will almost be guaranteed one of the first that is sold.

    Anyway, good luck! The early bird catches the ip5.
  16. Namji macrumors 6502a


    Aug 13, 2010
    This is where you would use your common sense...:p
  17. ipoddin macrumors 6502a


    Jan 6, 2004
    Los Angeles
    I'm in LA, we have several Apple stores and of course, carriers and Best Buy to chose from. Last year for the 4S I showed up at 7am to a line of about 200 people at an Apple store. We get inside and before the opening, they come around to everyone asking which device they wanted. They handed out a ticket with your iphone labeled on it. We were told we were guaranteed an iphone that day with this ticket so long as we claimed it by closing time. So we didn't have to stick around. I did but after two hours of waiting (it takes some time for activations) I had to get to work.

    I return around 5pm and decided I wanted a bigger storage unit and asked if it was possible to swap my ticket for a different device. Keep in mind, this was 5pm, there were no lines at this time, and they said "sure, we still have plenty of stock".

    Key takeaway, no need to show up so early if you're in a big market. They had plenty of stock left even at 5pm on launch day. I think Apple has really perfected the launch day experience and available stock from prior years debacles.
  18. Hankster macrumors 68020


    Jan 30, 2008
    Washington DC
    I have waited at the store twice for the iPhone. Some advice from my experience.

    1. If possible go to the least popular store. Don't go to the store that's in a mall, security normally make you wait outside and then it's a mad rush to the Apple store to line up AGAIN. Once my wife and I were 5th in line outside the mall. By the time everyone ran to the Apple store we were 20th or so.

    2. Bring a small chair and something to keep you busy. It's best to go with another person in case you want to take a nap.

    3. Instead of going at 1-3am, just wake up at 4-5am and head over there. You'll be fine. Most stores have several hundred iPhones on launch day.

    4. If you're closer to a carrier store I would go there. The line is ALWAYS shorter. Just go in there beforehand and make 100% sure they will have it. Beware carrier stores don't carry as many as Apple stores.

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