Customers line up for Apple's iPad

April 5, 2010 4:33:14 AM PDT
After months of hype and days of anticipation, the newest gadget from Apple is now in stores and is being snapped up by consumers.The iPad officially went on sale at 9 a.m. Saturday.

By most accounts, lines in Chicago and across the country were not nearly as long as they were for the release of the iPhone back in 2008. But customers had the option of pre-ordering an iPad online and having it delivered or picking it up at an Apple store.

For gadget gurus, the entrance to the Apple store on Chicago's Michigan Avenue -- flanked by cheering Apple employees-- was the gateway to heaven Saturday.

"I came all the way from Mexico to get one. This is a big deal. I got two. One was not enough," said customer Julieta Pessah.

"It's just really cool. It's just really cool. Apple is really cool," customer Sylvester Smith said.

That's three "really cools," for those of you who are counting.

Rain did not dampen the desire for the device. Some people began lining up outside the Michigan Ave. store Friday.

In New York, the wait began even earlier.

"[I've been here] since Thursday at 11:30 p.m.," one shopper said.

Is it worth it? The reviews have been mostly positive, but the tablet device does have its downsides. It only runs one application at a time. There is no actual keyboard. And because of Apple's longstanding dispute with Adobe, the device will not play videos on some Web sites.

Consumer Reports tested an iPad Saturday and gave it a thumbs up.

"It's got a crisp, big bright screen that's readable in almost every light condition, but it can be hard to read under very bright light. We find the glare can be kind of annoying," said Consumer Reports' Paul Eng.

While Apple fans greet the iPad as something of a 'messiah' of machines, others can only scratch at their heads at the hooplah.

Jaclyn Rodriguez was only in line because her friend begged her to join him.

"I am not at all into what he's doing. I'm so confounded by everything, but it was actually very exciting to be here," she said.

The iPad starts at $499. It'll be $629 to get the 3G model, and that version is not expected to ship until the end of the month.

Despite the lines, an Apple rep told ABC7 Chicago Saturday evening there were still plenty of iPads available at the Apple store downtown.