Although billed as the introduction of new Apple hardware, today’s event in San Francisco was less about the iPad 2, and more about how the company’s tablet computer has changed the lives of millions of people around the world. It was also an opportunity for Jobs to praise the retail stores, saying they allowed a quick and successful roll-out of the original iPad last year. Jobs walked onstage to a standing ovation from journalists and industry watchers, and then talked about Apple’s core values and culture, the intersection of technology and liberal arts, and noted the state of competition in the tablet marketplace. Likewise, a promotional video screened for the audience stressed few of the iPad 2′s hardware features, but more the benefits the device has brought to millions of people, including school children, artists, musicians, doctors and those who are autistic. Then, Jobs declared 21011 to be, “the year of the iPad 2.”
With Sr. V-P Ron Johnson sitting in the front row, Jobs talked about the iPad’s success. “One of the things that enabled us to roll out this technology so fast was our Apple retail stores. They were built for moments like this,” he said in front of a slide of Lincoln Park (Chicago) store. “They were built to take new technology, to roll it out, and educate customers about it, and be there when they have questions and issues.”
Jobs added, “And without these stores, I don’t think we would have been as successful, either.”
In the promotional video shown to the audience, there were shots of people using iPads at various landmarks around the world, including Notre Dame, the Roman Coliseum, the Spanish Steps and the Eiffel Tower. The video also showed scenes of happy customers from last years iPad debut at Apple’s stores.
In the video, Johnson’s eyes sparkle with enthusiasm. “You know, in 10 years of retail, I’ve never seen anything like the launch of the iPad,” he said. “I just remember that first day, and it wasn’t so much how many we sold, which was an all-time record, it was the number of people who wanted to put their hands on the product.”
Johnson explained, “The number one reason people come to our stores is to try a product that they’ve heard about, but never experienced first-hand. And the iPad is a product that has to be held and has to be touched to truly understand how magical it is.”
The iPad 2 is first available on Friday, March 11th, including at 5 p.m. at the retail stores.
Watch the entire video of the iPad 2 intro event.E-mail this story