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Apple fans buy iPad on first day; some wait hours

By Peter Svensson and Kelvin Chan

Associated Press

LAST UPDATED: 03:01 p.m. HST, Mar 16, 2012

Apple's latest iPad drew die-hard fans to stores in the U.S. and nine other countries Friday, many of whom lined up for hours to be among the first to buy one.

About 80 people were waiting in line for the Apple Store at Ala Moana to open at 8 a.m. 

Jessica Kaaiohelo-Dole, her husband Koa and 2 1/2-month-old girl baby girl Jahzara were first in line, after waiting since 4 a.m.

“I really wanted one, so it’s worth standing in line for it,” Jessica Kaaiohelo-Dole said.

She tried to order an iPad online, but was told there’s a three-week waiting list.

Jessica Kaaiohelo-Dole said this will be her first iPad.

“I own an iPhone and iPhones are pretty good. I just wanted to get an iPad,” she said.

The third version of the iPad, at prices starting at $499 in the U.S., comes with a faster processor, a much sharper screen and an improved camera, though the changes aren't as big as the upgrade to the iPad 2.

"I don't think it's worth the price but I guess I'm a victim of society," Athena May, 21, said in Paris.

About 450 people lined up outside Apple's Ginza store in downtown Tokyo. Some had spent the night sleeping outside the store. In Madison, Wis., people brought reclining lawn chairs for naps, while a few played games on older iPads.

Dipak Varsani, 21, got in line in London at 1 a.m. Thursday local time and said he was drawn by the new device's better screen.

"You've got clearer movies and clearer games," he said. "I use it as a multimedia device."

In Hong Kong, a steady stream of buyers picked up their new devices at preset times at the city's sole Apple store after entering an online lottery.

The system, which required buyers to have local ID cards, also helped thwart visitors from mainland China — Apple's fastest growing market — who have a reputation for scooping up Apple gadgets to get them earlier and avoid sales tax at home. A release date in China has not yet been announced.

Kelvin Tsui, a 26-year-old hospital worker in Hong Kong, was allowed to buy two and planned to sell the second to make money.

Two years after the debut of the first iPad, the device's launch has become the second-biggest "gadget event" of the year, after the annual iPhone release. Customers could have ordered iPads ahead of time to arrive at home Friday, but many came out in person for the atmosphere.

"People always stop to talk to us," Harry Barrington-Mountford, 22, said in London. "I am exhausted though. I have only had about 45 minutes of sleep."

Christos Pavlides, 24, got to a downtown Philadelphia store at 10 p.m. Thursday and was the first in line. He already owns the two previous iPad models and several iPhones and figures the new iPad was next.

Despite competition from cheaper tablet computers such as Amazon.com Inc.'s Kindle Fire, the iPad remains the most popular tablet computer. Apple Inc. has sold more than 55 million iPads since its debut in 2010.

For some customers, standing in line was the only chance to get a new iPad on Friday. Apple quickly ran out of supplies it set aside for advance orders. The company was telling customers Thursday to expect a two- to three-week wait for orders placed through its online stores. Some buyers feared even longer waits.


Kelvin Chan contributed from Hong Kong and Robert Barr from London. Peter Svensson in New York, Sharon Chen in Singapore and Malcolm Foster in Tokyo, Kathy Matheson in Philadelphia and Thomas Adamson in Paris and Dinesh Ramde in Madison, Wis. contributed to this report.

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Gibsons1girl wrote:
Oye vay! I will be waiting until the summer to get a new one...after the hysteria dies down.
on March 16,2012 | 08:30AM
hilopango wrote:
I can't believe someone actually brought a 2 1/2 month old baby out there to wait for four hours! Just not worth it. Goes to show where their priorities are.
on March 16,2012 | 11:00AM
Aquarius1 wrote:
Baby's immune system is barely fully developed. Ay yi yi.
on March 16,2012 | 12:51PM
jusmetwocents wrote:
Apple products rock!
on March 16,2012 | 11:37AM
cojef wrote:
Looking forward to trade in my I-pad2 for the New I-Pad if the price is right. If not will give the older model to spouse and get the newer model for myself. Don't know why, since I use it to read the SA, Network news, Youtube, Pandora, CAlendar, and gmail. Not a current music fad adherent and look for free music like Pandora. Wouldn't think of wasting my time in line. I"'m retired and can wait, cuz I'm not going anywhere fast to die, take it nice and easy and fade away quietly.
on March 16,2012 | 11:49AM
TLehel wrote:
$2000 Facebook machine. Soooooooooo worth the wait, amirite?
on March 16,2012 | 11:51AM
OahuRes22 wrote:
Seriously people....... I hope you have this kind of dedication to worthy causes as well
on March 16,2012 | 12:14PM
awahana wrote:
Meanwhile, there are critical lines at the hospital emergency rooms on Oahu...
on March 16,2012 | 12:15PM
bobbob wrote:
apple and oranges, no pun intended
on March 16,2012 | 12:49PM
who_dis_guy wrote:
What a bunch of losers.
on March 16,2012 | 12:57PM
Kokoy wrote:
Yeah bring your 2 1/2 month old to wait in line for the new ipad for hours, so ghetto.
on March 16,2012 | 02:21PM
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