New iPad Launch Draws Crowds

The New iPad Arrives

Apple retail stores drew crowds around the world today, with would-be shoppers hoping to be among the first to get their hands on the tech giant’s latest sought-after device: the new iPad.

Boston’s Boylston Street location was no exception. About 150 people gathered in line – starting as early as 5 a.m. – sleepily waiting for the new tablet. Apple employees handed out cups of water and helped field questions about the new iPad’s Retina display, 4G capabilities and carrier options.

Boston Prepares

Apple’s Boylston Street store is the largest, space-wise, in North America, an Apple employee told CRN.

The three-story building was manned by upwards of 40 employees on Friday morning, who kept watch over eager shoppers from the top floor before opening the doors for business at 8 a.m. – two hours earlier than its usual 10 a.m. start time.

The iPad Is An International Hit

Bostonians weren’t the only ones vying for Apple’s latest and greatest toy. Gunaj Rakipouski (pictured far left) lives in Denmark, but happened to be in Boston for a business trip the day of the new iPad launch.

Rakipouski was happy with the timing. The device won’t launch in Denmark for another week, so he’ll be one of the first to tout the new gadget when he lands in his home country. But he seemed to have a separate goal in mind: ’My wife really wants it,’ he said with a smile.

Business Users Flock

Boston resident and social media entrepreneur Roy Rodenstein (pictured) joined the Boylston Street crowd around 7 a.m., he told CRN.

The new iPad will be his first. "I’ve been trying to talk myself into it for a year or two," he said. At first, Rodenstein was unconvinced that the tablet would be suitable enough for the long hours of typing he puts in for work. But after trying some iPads out first-hand, he changed his mind and decided to make the buy.

He also said the new Retina display and 5-megapixel camera "make a big difference" from prior iPad versions, nudging him to make the move.

Retina Display, Camera Steal The Show

Most people seemed to be opting for the 32GB version of the tablet and, perhaps surprisingly, a lot seemed to be first-time iPad-buyers. The revamped display, new camera and support for 4G LTE were by far the most talked about features.

Five minutes before the doors were expected to swing open, the crowd got a bit restless. "They’re herding us like cows," one buyer joked to CRN. When asked whether he had ever waited in a line comparable to today's, he smiled and said: "Only for sneakers. Not for technology."

Apple's Warm Welcome

After walking down a massive center staircase and filtering into the main entrance of the store, Apple employees prepped for the big moment by forming two lines down the center aisle. "It looks like somebody just got married," a soon-to-be-iPad-owner said from the crowd.

Employees started clapping and cheering (it really did look like a wedding reception – or maybe a conga line), and security guards took their places near the two front doors.

Ahead Of The Game

There were two separate lines of Apple lovers. The larger one, encompassing an entire block of Boylston Street, was iconic of your typical iPad or iPhone launch.

But there was a shorter line of six people to the left of the store, reserved for those that had placed a pre-order of the new device. Apple said last week that its pre-order stack of iPads had sold out in record time, and that some customers would have to wait until March 19 – rather than the official March 16 launch date – to receive the coveted new gadget.

These lucky six Bostonians put their pre-orders in early enough for an 8 a.m. Friday pick-up, and were individually greeted at the door with a handshake by their own personal Apple store rep.


The doors swung open a few minutes after 8 a.m., and Apple fans entered in groups. The bottom floor was swimming with test versions of the new tablet, and the walls were strewn with photos of it (the same one on Apple’s homepage that features that big pink flower and says, with the company’s famous simplicity, "Resolutionary").

Employees wouldn’t disclose exactly how many new iPads the store had in stock. But they did say there were "lots."

There was a two-tablet limit per customer.

The Specs

The new iPad is Apple’s third-generation tablet, and comes in three models: the $499 16GB, $599 32GB, and $699 64GB versions. It supports 4G LTE wireless in the U.S. and Canada, and comes equipped with a new Retina display, A5X chip, quad-core graphics, and a 5-megapixel camera. Apple said it can support up to 10 hours of battery life.

It launched Friday morning, 8 a.m. local time, in the U.S., Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Japan, Singapore, Switzerland and the U.K.

Tablet-seekers looking to save a little cash can now pick up the iPad 2 (the new iPad's older sibling) starting at $399.

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