SAN FRANCISCO--The iPad looks to be a well-received device, if the lines at Apple stores on Saturday are any indication. Hundreds lined up in New York City and San Francisco stores early Saturday morning.
But unlike in the case of past Apple launch events for the iPhone, it wasn't quite the frenzy we're used to. Although there were video cameras galore, reporters aplenty, and a palpable buzz, the launch didn't generate the near-hysteria that surrounded the first iPhone, or even the iPhone 3G. It was, however, clear that many people who choose to stand in line have done this before.
You can tell by the way they pose with the iPad upon exiting the store, wear slogans on their shirts that promote their game company or their friend's new app, or linger after they emerge from the store for interviews, which plenty of outlets--CNET included!--were happy to oblige. There is now, it seems, such a thing as a veteran Apple line waiter.
That doesn't mean they're not enthusiastic or excited about the iPad, quite the opposite. But those who stood in line Saturday morning didn't have to do that: Apple introduced the option last month to have the iPad shipped directly to your home starting Saturday--for free. So the people who showed up did so because "FedEx is for the weak," as one man joked, or because they have fun standing in line with fellow Apple fans, or because they know they can get on camera--or mentioned in a blog.
There are now the usual suspects who come out for high-profile Apple product launches, which stretch back to the original iPhone in June 2007. Greg Packer, who camped out for four days in front of the New York City Fifth Avenue Apple Store for the iPad is a well-known "line sitter," who spends time appearing first at public events in hopes he will be interviewed.
Among those who queued up at the Palo Alto Apple Store was technology blogger Robert Scoble. Scoble camped out overnight to ensure he was the first to walk in and out of the store with an iPad in hand, waiting almost 24 hours. He's also a veteran of iPhone launches past. In return for his patience, Scoble was rewarded with interviews from a slew of media outlets and featured in the all-important "first person walking out of the store with an iPad" shot that will no doubt be on the front of newspapers come Sunday morning--and here at CNET and other blogs on Saturday.
In San Francisco, Dale Larson, who's been at every iPhone launch wasn't first in line for a change and didn't bring a tent (his new fiancee put the kibosh on that). But he had a chair and was wearing a suit, same as in years past.
Emerging from the store early on clutching an iPad was sure to get the flashbulbs popping at you. Some enterprising young men came out, unboxed their iPads immediately and began doing demonstrations for the crowd of cameras.… Read more