A collection of loyal Apple enthusiasts, bloggers and one serial publicity hound have formed waiting lines spanning the country for Saturday’s 9 a.m. debut of the iPad. At the Fifth Avenue (NYC) store, a retiree who routinely appears at city events has set up his chair along 58th Street, while at the Palo Alto (N. CAlif.) store blogger and tech guru Robert Scoble says lots of other geeks will join him for an overnight street party, including legend Bill Atkinson (despite the rain). Scoble left the line briefly to purchase a 3,800-watt generator to power the line’s gear. At the North Michigan Avenue store, the first person in line bemoaned the lack of fellow enthusiasts. Steve Wozniak is #4 at the Valley Fair (N. Calif.) store and is posing for photos with passersby and the line. But enthusiasm isn’t universal: the mall manager at Waterside Shops (Fla.) says Apple enthusiasts won’t be able to line up or even enter the parking lot until 7 a.m. A photo obtained by Scoble shows the store room of an unidentified store with at least 50 visible brown cardboard boxes, each containing five iPads, or at least 250 iPads in-stock. For overnight coverage, check Scoble’s Justin.tv channel, Leo Laporte’s sometimes-live Ustream channel, or the IntoMobile live-until-dead-battery stream. Check the IFO Twitter stream for on-going updates.
In general, the waiting lines appear to be drawn from loyalty and camaraderie, rather than the need to queue up for the purchase. Most reports at 10 p.m. said no one was in line, or less than five.
After store closing time, stores went gone dark, with black cloth over the front windows to hide preparations later tonight for selling the iPad, and for the 7 a.m. employee training session. An easel sign states, “9 a.m. First come, first served.” The same cloaking technique was used for last year’s iPhone 3G introduction. It’s anticipated that the 24-hour Fifth Avenue store will close at midnight to prepare for the iPad debut.
Check these other stories and links about the iPad debut:
- The iPad will arrive at the Staten Island (NY) store
- The early waiting line at Palo Alto
- CNN’s Richard Roth visits the Fifth Avenue store
- Wednesday video of the Fifth Avenue first-in-line
- First-in-line at North Michigan Avenue (Chicago)
- Use Milo to find an iPad beyond Apple
- Live forum from San Francisco store
- Story about Boylston Street (Boston) line (windows there now blacked out)