This is what happened at the Apple Store the morning the iPad came out

Okay, I decided to go to one of the local Apple Stores this morning to witness the hubub over the iPad first hand.  I’ve been reading tons of reviews online and having fun trying to follow all the madness.  I would like to have been able to get one but sadly it just doesn’t fit in the budget right now. 

I went to the store near T.C.U. around 8:45 this morning.  Normally the Apple Stores open up at 10 on Saturdays.  Since today was a launch day they started things at nine.  There were two lines.   One went off to the right of the store.  That one was for all the people who had reserved an iPad.  Then another line went to the left and that was for the people who were just gonna buy one regular-style.  I went to the regular-style line.

There was a police officer there to control the nerdy crowd.  Actually, I think he was a rent-a-cop.  But there were some real Fort Worth Police officers inside (I saw them later on).

It wasn’t as crazy as I thought it was going to be.  It was just a bunch of people waiting patiently in the lines.  Some were talking to each other.  It was actually bringing people together in a neat way.  You could tell everybody was excited to be there and to get to be some of the first people to see an iPad in real life. 

I stood behind a big bald guy in overalls and struck up a conversation.   I told him that I wasn’t gonna buy one.  I was just coming to see everything.  He said there were less people there on this launch day than for the iPhone (which he had also been to).  I asked what he thought he’d use it for and he said probably surfing the web and he’d probably get a few apps too.  He was planning on getting the 32 gig model.  He thought less people would get that model.  I didn’t agree with him but I kept quiet.

Then I talked to two other guys who came together and were both gonna buy one.  Nobody at this point had even seen one or played with one.  They both had iPhones too.  They were excited about the apps. 

There were people of all ages in the lines.  Some families too. 

At about 9 they started letting people in.  They’d let in 10 people with reservations per 1 regular-style customer.  So our line went slower.  I saw a bunch of people with cameras and I think there was a reporter there early on.  She had a regular old notepad and pen and I think she was interviewing people.  But they were up further in the line and I couldn’t see too well.

When the first people got in and walked out of the Apple Store, iPad box in hand, employees would high-five the smiling customer and say, “Enjoy your iPad!”  They did this every time somebody walked out with one in thier hands so it got kinda annoying.  But still it was cool how quietly happy everybody seemed to be.  It was a bunch of happily brainwashed Apple customers.  I tried to see a box of the first iPads to leave the store through the crowd.  People would have their bags or boxes tucked under their arms.  I swear, it looked like the first guy had a valet picking him up at the curb.  It was funny to see the people right after they walked out of the store.  It was like they were really happy but they suddenly didn’t know what to do.  They’d just look around like they were confused and then they’d walk to thier car and drive off.  I kept thinking somebody was gonna chase them in another car and steal their iPad.  Didn’t happen though.

I did talk to a few of the other people in line and they mentioned how they probably wouldn’t take it out in public right away which I thought seemed pretty smart.  Those things would not be hard to steal and I can see how they could disappear real quick if you’re not careful.  Especially right now since they’re so new and still a little rare.

I felt kinda guilty since I wasn’t going to be buying one (don’t ask me why).  One of the employees was walking by the line giving water bottles to everybody.  I told her that I wasn’t going to be buying one today and that I just wanted to see one.  She said that was okay and since I was in the line I could go inside the roped-off area where the iPads were so I could play with one.  If I’d just walked into the store I’d have to look at them from a distance.  So I was gonna get some hands-on time.  Cool.

We waited a few more minutes and then they let us in. 

I have to say that it was a little smaller than I thought it would be (this is the part of the blog where I say stuff you’ve probably already heard about the thing).  It really is designed with simplicity in mind.  I could immediately imagine my computer-wary dad using one and enjoying it.  The thing is very intuitive.  More intuitive than you think anything could be before you use it.  It makes sense.  I pulled up the internet and went to a few pages.  It was quick.  I went to Rotten Tomatoes and The New York Times.  I scooted the screen around and shrunk it and made it bigger all very easily.  I can see how this thing would make surfing the internet extremely easy. 

Then I closed out the internet and pulled up a few of the other things.  They have a neat map app that was fast.  I had that opened for a couple seconds.  I opened a word processing app and tried typing with the onscreen keyboard.  It was pretty easy and didn’t seem like it would take a long time or be frustrating to use.

I think what struck me the most was how right it felt.  And then how easy it was to use.  I think a lot of people have had that kind of reaction.  It’s like it makes sense in a way that you can’t really imagine until you  just hold one.  I would tell any skeptic to just go to the Apple Store or to a Best Buy and play with one for a few minutes.  I think they are gonna sell themselves.

And they’re gonna sell a ton of these things.

I don’t think you should stop what you’re doing and go buy one right now.  I do think that you should play with one just to see what it does because it’s pretty amazing.  I went this morning more for the experience than anything.  If I get one it probably won’t be for a year or two but I’m already looking forward to it.

For Jeff Grant’s blog, I’m Jeff Grant.

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