New iPad: Was It Worth the Wait?

 
 
By Wayne Rash  |  Posted 2012-03-17 Email Print this article Print
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

NEWS ANALYSIS: eWEEK columnist Wayne Rash decided to brave the lines during the first morning of sales for the new iPad. Here's what he found.

It was about 7:15 a.m. the first day of sales of the new iPad €“ March 16 €“ and the line at the Apple store in Fairfax, Va., was already more than 100 people deep. They were orderly and friendly as an Apple employee passed out vouchers for the iPad people wanted. The idea was that the store employees would know immediate what iPad you wanted, select it from the immense stack at the back of the store and get you on your way as quickly as possible.

The same Apple employees were pushing a cart loaded with refreshments, so you could have coffee or water while you waited. It was like airline service, but without the attitude and without the spilled coffee in your lap. I asked the woman who was first in line what she planned to do with her new iPad. "I don€™t know," she said. "My husband thinks I€™m crazy."

I asked others in line. "Because it€™s cool," was a common answer. Perhaps the second most common was, "because my wife took mine and I need one." A few people mentioned educational uses. Buyers seemed split between the AT&T version of the iPad and the Verizon Wireless version.

I asked one future iPad owner why he decided on the AT&T version. "I have AT&T for my phone," he said. "It just makes sense."

Upstairs at the Verizon Experience store in Fair Oaks Mall, the line was more subdued, and seemed to consist of a larger proportion of business purchasers. There, the first person in line was a radiologist who needed the improved resolution for viewing X-rays in his continuing education class. He also thought he could use it in conjunction with his daughters€™ sports activities.

Inside the Verizon store after it opened, I noticed a large number of people buying multiple iPads. One person had a stack of four devices, apparently one for each member of his family. A Verizon store employee was on hand as each customer entered the store to help with the purchase process and help the customers get their device activated on Verizon€™s 4G Long-Term Evolution (LTE) network.

Back downstairs at the Apple store, it was now nearly 9 a.m., and the line was still there. Apple employees were chatting with customers, still passing out refreshments and pairing each customer with an Apple salesperson waiting inside the store entrance. The line was shorter, but not as short as I€™d expected. People kept joining the line, apparently stopping by to pick up a new iPad on the way to work.

Finally, I joined the line, was handed my voucher, offered refreshments and chatted with the Apple employee that I€™d been chatting with all along anyway. The line moved quickly, and in minutes I was introduced to an Apple salesperson. €œHi, I€™m Ian,€ the young man with the blue Apple T-shirt said. He took my voucher and said, €œFollow me.€



 
 
 
 
Wayne Rash Wayne Rash is a Senior Analyst for eWEEK Labs and runs the magazine's Washington Bureau. Prior to joining eWEEK as a Senior Writer on wireless technology, he was a Senior Contributing Editor and previously a Senior Analyst in the InfoWorld Test Center. He was also a reviewer for Federal Computer Week and Information Security Magazine. Previously, he ran the reviews and events departments at CMP's InternetWeek.

He is a retired naval officer, a former principal at American Management Systems and a long-time columnist for Byte Magazine. He is a regular contributor to Plane & Pilot Magazine and The Washington Post.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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