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Eager users crowd Apple stores worldwide as new iPad goes on sale

Agam Shah | March 19, 2012
As has become a custom with every major Apple product launch, die-hard fans lined up outside the company's retail stores worldwide to purchase the third-generation iPad, called the "new iPad," which went on sale on Friday morning.

"We know Apple is listening," said Jessica Morales, of Change.org. "We just want Apple to be the leader they are. We're Apple consumers ourselves, we have iPhones, iPads and MacBooks."

In France, mobile network operator Orange earlier this week promised it would begin sales of the new iPad online and at "select" stores across France. The country's most select store, on the Champs Elysées in Paris, hosted midnight launch parties and opened early to sell previous Apple devices, but on Friday morning the store was empty and the shutter still down. The only device on display in the Window was Nokia's bottom-of-the-range smartphone, the Lumia 710, while a massive in-store display visible behind a curtain still touted the iPad 2.

Things were more animated at the Apple Store near the Opera: some customers were allowed in shortly after 8 a.m., but those left waiting in line outside were almost outnumbered by journalists, security guards and a guerilla marketing team from lekiosque.fr, whose members handed out free cups of coffee while promoting an online newsstand app for the iPad.

In London, the new iPad's higher-resolution screen was the big draw.

"It is my first iPad, so I am kind of looking forward to all of it. But the display was enough to convince me to buy one," said Mike Lee, who had decided to get the 64GB Wi-Fi version after hearing that applications would be bigger because of the increased resolution.

But the improved camera and the faster processor also made the new iPad worth buying, said Amir Saeed, who had turned up at the Apple's store on Regent Street in London. Saeed didn't mind the weight increase, saying that it would help users notice that they actually had it with them.

The new iPad weighs 1.46 pounds (662 grams), a little heavier than the iPad 2, which weighed in at 1.35 pounds.

European users won't be able to take advantage of the iPad's LTE connection, because there aren't any commercial 4G networks and when they are eventually launched, the spectrum bands used will be different from the ones Apple currently supports.

Hundreds lined up in Tokyo outside Apple's store in the upscale Ginza shopping district. Some waited for a day and a half to buy the iPad.

Ryo Watanabe, a 19-year-old university student, lined up 36 hours prior to the device going on sale so he could be the first to buy the new iPad. He cradled his new 16GB Wi-Fi model, still in the box, as he talked to reporters.

"It's not that I like Apple itself so much, it's just that Apple makes good products, so I choose them," he said.

 

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