Orlando, FL: Apple Store Panther Event Draws Big Crowd (W/Pics)

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On Friday, Apple released Panther, its next iteration of OS X. To celebrate the event, Apple stores across the country threw a iPanther Partyi which included discounts and a chance to win an iMac. If the Orlando, FL Apple store is any indication, the event was a huge success.

The tiny Apple Store in Orlando is located inside the Mall at Millenia, an upscale mall just south of Orlando. Though the store remained open before the event until 7:30 PM EDT, a line for the Panther event started forming nearly an hour earlier, and by 7:25 PM there were at least 50 people in line.

At 7:30 PM the Apple store closed its doors, and the store employees could be seen hustling about, preparing to let the cat out of the cage. Meanwhile, by 7:45 PM, the line outside the store had swelled to about 150, and Mall security was beginning to get concerned as the throng of Panther fans, waiting patiently in line, began to affect the traffic pattern in the mall.

"Lemme At Panther!"
(Click the thumbnail for a larger image)
By 7:50 PM, at least 200 people stood in the line, which now snaked into the center of the wide walkway and extended well past the Apple store on either side. Many Mac fans brought their laptops with them, and were able to connect to Appleis WiFi network and surf the Web will they waited. Other Mac fans, like Josh and Tara from Orlando, preferred to wait and watch the crowd from the second level of the Mall. Josh is a Switcher who has owned his PowerBook for a month; this was his first iApple Eventi, and he and Tara were excited. "This is really something," Josh commented about the crowd. About his new PowerBook, he said, "I love it, and I am anxious to get Panther."

Promptly at 8:00 PM, the door of the Apple Store rose and Apple employees rushed out to meet the crowd. A cheer and applause erupted, and the line came to life as fans wound their way through the line towards Panther. The store could only accommodate a hundred or so people safely so people had to be let in as other left.

More Panther on the way
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Inside the store, every area was manned by an Apple employee and demos of Pantheris new features were taking place everywhere. Almost immediately a new line formed in front of the checkout counter as people with Panther and other Apple goodies in hand waited to pay. Panther wasnit the only item of interest; the new iBooks were a hit, as were the iPods and iSight. Several whole systems were rolled out the door as customers took advantage of the discounts.

Apple offered 10% discounts on other products to people who also purchased a copy of Panther. The company was also offering 10% off the top for new hardware purchases.

As it is true for all things-Apple, the company owns the experience right down to the smallest detail; even the bags were of a unique design, with drawstrings attached to the bottom of the bag to form a stylish backpack. As customers left the store they were given black metal dog-tags with a silver iXi on them, and a black Apple logo on the back. Very cool.

By 9:00 PM the line outside the store had shrunk appreciably but there was still a line. By every visible indication, the Apple in-store Panther event in Orlando was a big success.

Click the thumbnails for larger images

7:30PM and all is well

PowerBooks
to bide the time

Making a statement

Suzy is the catis meow

One Month old Switchers;
Tara and Josh

Lining up at the checkup

New iBook fascination

None shall pass!

The line outside at 8:30PM


Heis got his cat in the bag!


G5 demos

iMac demos

Alice and Dan sporting
Panther iCati tags

Kids play while parent pay.

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