I got up at the crack of dawn this morning and headed off to my local Apple Store to pick up a new iPad. So did hundreds of other people, resulting in a long line of people waiting to get this tablet computer. I wasn’t surprised, as there’s no doubt this is the hottest mobile device hitting the market this season.
I’m describing the process I went through because I think it should be a model for how to launch a highly-anticipated computer.
At 9 am when I arrived, there were 100 or so people waiting to pick up the iPad they had reserved. There were also about half that many waiting in a different line hoping that they would be able to get a unit today. Obviously, the people who had made reservations got theirs first.
My local store had plenty of employees on duty, so the wait in line wasn’t long… perhaps 45 minutes. Most people were cheerful about the wait, and Apple provided free coffee and let people get an early look at the iPad if they wanted.
When it was my turn, I was brought into the store and given a briefing on the iPad from an employee. Ross had been well trained, and was able to answer my questions, most of which centered around using this tablet computer for professional reasons, not games or video.
There were loads of iPads already set up to let people familiarize themselves with the device, with employees standing by to answer questions.
Today is the launch of the versions of the iPad that depend on Wi-Fi for Internet access. The version that will be able to access AT&T’s 3G network are scheduled for release in late April — exactly when is not yet known.
Right now, you have you choice of one with 16 GB of storage capacity for $500, a 32 GB one for $600, or a 64 GB version for $700. The versions with 3G will be an additional $130.
There are some iPad accessories available today, but there are also some notable absences. Naturally the Dock is in stores, and several companies have a range of cases available already. However, the Keyboard Dock won’t be available until late this month. The adapters to let you plug in memory cards to transfer pictures also won’t be released for a few more weeks.
The Apple Bluetooth keyboard is compatible, and has been on the market for some time, so I picked one up for testing. I also got the adapter to let you connect the iPad (or iPhone) to an external monitor to watch video.
Even though the iPad has just launched today, there is already a tremendous array of third-party software for it because this tablet computer can run apps designed for the iPhone. In addition, a growing number of titles have been tuned for the iPad’s 9.7-inch, high-resolution display.
You can read about some of the new apps in this article:
Apple iPad Software Pouring into the App Store
I’m going to spend the rest of the day testing out this new tablet computer, and writing a “First Look” review. This will be published on Brighthand‘s sister site TabletPCReview.com.
I have completed my preliminary review of the iPad. To read it, go to: