I’m prepping myself to get an iPad2 on the day of launch on March 11th. As part of the plan, I visited a few Apple stores in advance to get a feeler. I engaged in friendly conversation with many Apple staffers and here are some very interesting insights.
Apple will provide snacks and drinks for people waiting in line to pick up their products.
An Apple employee who has been working at the stores for 3 years said he has seen many product launches and the crowd always varies. Another employee from a different store said for the iPhone3G launch, they had stocked up on plenty of donuts and drinks and there was hardly any queue.
The queue for iPad2 is expected to be lesser because not only are there more Apple stores than last year, the big retailers are also selling them. This includes Walmart, BestBuy, Verizon and AT&T. This should distribute a lot of crowd. That said, die-hard Apple fanatics will rather drive miles away to an Apple store to buy the iPad2 rather than walk to the nearest Walmart!
While people stand in line, Apple employees will take a note of what model and what colour of iPads that people are intending to buy. If a particular model is in over-demand, they will quickly add more of it to the stock. If that model is bound to run out, then the person is informed so that he doesn’t have to stand in the queue for nothing.
Apple allows purchase of only two iPads per person. And these two iPads *has* to be of different models. Either different memory capacity or different colors.
Apple does accept cash. But it has to be linked to an Apple account so that the same person does not go buy iPads from different stores. This is to curb re-selling in different countries.
I asked various Apple folks why let customers purchase only at 5 PM and not at 9AM when the stores usually open. I got various reasons…
1) Last time they started selling at 9AM and the queue started to form from 3AM onwards. This poses security risk. And inconvenient to the loyal Apple fans. Now, because iPad selling happens only at 5PM, they anticipate the lines to be formed after sunrise.
2) It’s a marketing strategy. Make people wait. Let the queue get longer. This is a visual that the media loves. It increases the pent up demand for the iPads.
I’ll more insights as I begin my quest to get one tomorrow. When I stand in the line for the entire day, I will have nothing else to do but watch for interesting stuff. Tune in tomorrow.