iPad 2 in London on Friday - help me acquire this beautiful beast.
March 23, 2011 2:58 AM   Subscribe

iPad 2 purchase in London: the iPad 2 is coming out here on Friday 25 March. I would like to get one before I leave London the following week. Can you offer me any advice on the best plan to get hold of one (also, it's for Mrs HopStop and thus, must be white which will probably make it a wee bit harder).

Never been to any first day of launch type affairs, have a kid in tow so not keen on mad crowds but I do want to get one before they run out of stock and before I leave London.

Should I just go to one of the Apple stores on the day itself? The next day?

Any advice would be very helpful, noob that I am...
posted by HopStopDon'tShop to Technology (12 answers total)
Best answer: Hmmmm.

Obviously no-one knows for sure, but there are likely to be pretty big queues. Most Apple Stores in the US had queues, and there are obviously far fewer over here. I queued up for an iPhone 4 on the UK release date, and it was insane. At the Regent Street store, the queue was so long that they weren't able to fit everyone inside before closing time, so they came up with an impromptu reservation system and gave everyone a time at which they could come back over the next few days. Lots of people got agitated at this, but they really didn't have an alternative. So, the moral of the story is that if you go to an Apple store you're almost certainly going to have to queue. If you were only around for the weekend, this might be troublesome, but since you have a week or so things might be easier. It really depends on how quickly Apple restock and how long it takes for the craziness to die down.

Your best option — if it is an option, which I don't know — is to find out if anyone other than Apple will be stocking them on or soon after the release date. A lot of people like to go queue up and soak up the Apple-new-product vibe with fellow geeks, but if you've got a child in tow and a narrow time window then I'm sure you'd prefer the hassle-free option (which will probably take the form of larger retailers like PC World and the like). My advice? Keep an eye on Engadget and this thread on the MacRumors forums. People will tend to have more current/inside info than the stores themselves and will often relay info from the queues, which will save you the grief of turning up or trying to get any Apple store employee on the phone on the day.
posted by jaffacakerhubarb at 4:05 AM on March 23, 2011

Best answer: Also check out electronics retailers that let you reserve an item online and then collect and pay for it instore (e.g. PC World, Argos, Comet, etc).
posted by EndsOfInvention at 4:10 AM on March 23, 2011

I picked up my iPad 2 on launch day at a Target. The Apple Store line was ~150 people 3 hours before launch; the Target line was 5. (Granted, Target had fewer iPads in stock.)
posted by Tu13es at 5:41 AM on March 23, 2011

Best answer: Well, about the only way to be assured one here (Vancouver, Canada) is to start lining up around 6am outside one of the Apple Stores. Personally, I'm hoping noon is going to be good enough, because that's the best I can do. It's going to be a madhouse. I can't believe I'm going to do this, but my gadget lust makes me do stupid things.

You might get lucky with one of the lesser known Authorized Apple resellers, but they will have significantly less stock. Think something in the neighborhood of 5 total per store (i'm guessing given what I've read about the US launch), so your chances of them even having the exact color/size you want is hit and miss. If you're not up for waiting @ Apple, I'd try one of the more out of the way locations of these other resellers sometime before 5pm and be prepared to wait a little.

I've also heard Apple *may* have some more stock for Saturday, but the lineups won't be any less. And once again, it's all speculation of course. After the launch, you can also just try calling the Apple stores about a half hour before they open, see if they got in any stock that day, and then hightail it out there hoping for a small lineup. I've read that tip on one of the many forums, at least.
posted by cgg at 7:29 AM on March 23, 2011

(Oh, I forgot to mention - the iPad2 only goes on sale at 5pm local time Friday, in case that wasn't clear. I'm assuming it's the same everywhere.)
posted by cgg at 7:31 AM on March 23, 2011

Best answer: If you're going to an Apple store, remember that there are actually 4 in the London area: in addition to the Regent Street store, there are Apple stores in Covent Garden, White City, and Brent Cross.

In my unscientific, anecdotal experience, the Regent Street store is generally overcrowded, while the Covent Garden store is not. Also, recently I booked a Genius Bar appointment, and there were a lot more open slots at Covent Garden than at Regent Street. I suspect, in short, that the Regent Street store tends to be the busiest of the London Apple stores, which means you don't want to queue up there.

I also suspect (again, entirely unscientifically) that White City and/or Brent Cross will be your best bets, just because they are farther out and less hip, which means they will be less likely to attract the kind of Apple fan who queues up just for the fun of queueing up with other Apple fans.

Another possible tip: in the US, it was possible to order an iPad 2 online from 1AM on launch date, and people who logged on to the website at that ungodly hour were able to order one to be shipped fairly quickly. So you might consider that. If you're lucky, you might even be able to have one shipped to your hotel in London, so you can go home with one without having to queue. Obviously the risk is that it arrives late and you're no longer at the hotel...

Do you want to pick one up in person because you want to surprise your wife with it, or just so you can get it quickly? If the latter, it's worth getting up super early on Friday morning and seeing if they're available online, and having it shipped to your home (assuming you live in the UK.)

Here's a link to the UK Apple Store online.
posted by yankeefog at 7:37 AM on March 23, 2011

(You may not be so dead set on the white after reading this.)
posted by Dragonness at 7:55 AM on March 23, 2011

If it does go on sale at 1 AM online, try a quarter of an hour before 1. In the US, website ordering was open early and those first iPads were delivered a few days before the ones ordered at 1 AM.
posted by Dragonness at 8:00 AM on March 23, 2011

Response by poster: Thanks to you all - I'll be going to one of those larger retailers, although they're not too sure what's going on themselves at this point.
posted by HopStopDon'tShop at 9:40 AM on March 23, 2011

Ebay. People from the states are selling them currently and most are headed to Europe/UK.
posted by Hurst at 10:46 AM on March 23, 2011

last year i bought my ipad on launch day at the apple store at white city/westfield. queued for no more than 45 mins when regent street queues were apparently going on for hours. YMMV.
posted by ascullion at 11:18 AM on March 23, 2011

and contrary to what yankeefog says above, there are 5 apple stores in london - he/she missed kingston
posted by ascullion at 11:19 AM on March 23, 2011

« Older Scrabble TRICKSTER? No! Never!   |   How do I not let my website show up on 'Incoming... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.