iPhone 4 Launch Day Survival Guide

The iPhone 4 hits store shelves on Thursday, June 24, and if you weren’t one of the lucky people that managed to complete the pre-order process, you’ll probably find yourself standing in line early — possibly even tonight — to get yours. If you take some time to plan ahead, you can make your overnight wait shopping experience a little more pleasant.

Apple’s coveted iPhone 4

Shop Early, Shop Often
Apple retail stores and and possibly Walmart will have a limited supply of iPhones on hand for launch day, so odds are you’ll want to show up early to increase your chances of getting one. Apple and AT&T stores will opening at 7AM local time on the 24th to process iPhone reservations.

Don’t bother waiting in line at an AT&T store if you didn’t pre-order an iPhone for pickup. AT&T stores won’t have any extra iPhone 4 inventory on hand for walk-in customers.

For other iPhone launches, Apple limited customers to two units each, so expect the same policy to be in place on Thursday. If you were planning on buying several, think again, or get your friends to go with you.

Always Be Prepared
Many Apple stores are outdoors, so be ready for the weather. If you are expecting sunny or hot weather, consider sunscreen to avoid sunburns, and drink plenty of water. Early risers planning on standing in line all day should pack something to eat and drink, and if you can convince a friend to be a food and drink runner, even better.

Some locations may prohibit forming lines early. Find out before you show up if you can wait, or if mall security will send you packing.

Shoppers line up early for iPhone launches

Plan for the Worst, Hope for the Best
Just because you wait in line all day doesn’t mean you’ll walk away with an iPhone. If your local store runs out of stock before you get yours, remember that more are on the way.

Before trekking back out again, check to see if your local Apple Store has a waiting list. If so, that may be the fastest way to get ahold of an iPhone 4 because waiting list customers will get top priority when new shipments arrive.

Apple is also selling the iPhone 4 through its online store. If you aren’t all that excited about standing in line, and you don’t mind waiting a couple of weeks for your iPhone to arrive, consider ordering yours online. The ship date Apple is currently showing for iPhone orders is July 14.

A little planning, just like the lines of shoppers waiting for an iPhone, goes a long way. Be sure to get your plan together ahead of time, and don’t forget to have fun.