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Apple fans buy iPad on first day; some wait hours

  • BRUCE ASATO/BRUCEASATO@STARADVERTISER.COM
    Koa Kaaiohelo-Dole holds 2 1/2 month old daughter Jahzara as he and his wife, Jessica, at right, wait at the front of the line to enter the Apple store at Ala Moana to buy the new iPad.
  • COURTESY: OWEN HOWSON
    Staradvertiser.com reader Owen Howson says about 75 people were in line at the Apple Waikiki store at about 6:30 a.m. today.
  • ASSOCIATED PRESS
    People gather outside an Apple retail store on Fifth Avenue in the Manhattan borough of New York, Friday, March 16, 2012, as they wait for the 8 a.m. local time release of the new iPad tablet. (AP Photo/Jeffrey Furticella)
  • COURTESY: OWEN HOWSON
    Staradvertiser.com reader Owen Howson sent this photo of about 75 people waiting in line at the Apple store in Waikiki to buy new iPads this morning.
  • COURTESY: OWEN HOWSON
    Alex Malyzenkov, a student from Russia, and Jordan Lombardo, a Kaiser High School student were first in line to buy a new iPad this morning at the Apple store in Waikiki. They arrived at 1:00am. Alex is holding his apple that he brought to snack on while waiting in line.
  • ASSOCIATED PRESS
    Japanese Ryota Musha, 41, right, and Hisanori Kogure, 31, show off new iPad tablet computers they purchased, in Tokyo Friday, March 16, 2012. Sales of the third version of Apple's iPad began Friday morning in Japan. (AP Photo/Koji Sasahara)
  • BRUCE ASATO/BRUCEASATO@STARADVERTISER.COM
    California visitors Joann and Vincent Mach hold up 2 of the 4 newly purchased iPads after waiting in line for the doors to open at the Apple store at Ala Moana this morning.
  • BRUCE ASATO/BRUCEASATO@STARADVERTISER.COM
    Thanty Tham and daughter Lily hold up their newly purchased iPads after waiting in line for the doors to open at the Apple store at Ala Moana this morning.
  • BRUCE ASATO/BRUCEASATO@STARADVERTISER.COM
    People, who waited in line for hours ,enter the Apple store at Ala Moana when the doors opened at 8 a.m. today to be amonh the first to buy a new iPad.
  • BRUCE ASATO/BRUCEASATO@STARADVERTISER.COM
    Dozens of people line up to enter the Apple store at Ala Moana to buy the new iPad this morning.
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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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