Image Source: Engadget
Just two days to go now until the iPad 2 goes on sale in the US, on Friday March 11th. If you’re looking to buy an iPad 2 this week there are a few places to go and ways to purchase. Here’s a quick rundown of them:
— Apple retail stores: The iPad 2 will go on sale at 5:00PM local time in Apple stores. If you don’t mind the possibility of waiting in lines and you’ve got an Apple store near your home (or work), then they’re generally the best bet in terms of somewhere to go and walk out with the model and version you want on launch day.
They tend to have far more stock available than other retail chains, and a good supply of all the different models and versions – which this year include white and black, WiFi only units or 3G via AT&T or Verizon, and the storage options at 16, 32, and 64GB. Apple stores are also the best prepared and organized for big launch events. They manage lines well, keep people well-informed on how stock is looking, and generally circulate the lines with water / coffee / snacks – at least here in Austin.
— Other Retail Outlets: Target, Best Buy, Walmart, and Sam’s Club outlets will have the iPad 2 on sale at the same starting time as Apple on Friday. So will some AT&T and Verizon retail locations. if you don’t have an Apple store nearby and you want to make sure you get an iPad 2 in your hands on launch day, these may be a good option.
The biggest drawback of these outlets is that they generally get far less stock than Apple stores. They tend to run out of model choices very quickly and often run out of all stock within a short time as well. If you plan to go to one of these stores, you may need to scope out the line situation throughout the day and see if store staff know anything about stock levels.
— Online Ordering: The Apple online store will begin accepting orders at 12:01AM Pacific Time (3:00 Eastern) on Friday morning. You get free shipping but of course you won’t have one on launch day – you’re likely looking at Monday or Tuesday for earliest delivery depending on how quickly you get an order in.
Ordering online should also ensure that you have the full selection of models – again, depending on how quickly you order and how big the demand is.
It will be interesting to see how the line situation plays out this year. It’s a second generation device and many people are still more than happy with the original iPad, and others believe this is not a sufficiently dramatic upgrade to get excited about – but the lack of an ability to pre-order may serve to increase the lines. I’m dreading the Austin lines because SXSW Interactive starts tomorrow and there will be hordes of techie geeks in town.
How are you planning to get your hands on an iPad 2? Will you be out at a store on launch day? Ordering at Apple online? Passing for now?