TMO Reports - Inside The Valley Fair Apple Store Jaguar Party

The line wrapped back on itself, as Mac users queued up for the chance to look at Appleis new OS, Jaguar. Apple kicked off the release of Jaguar on Friday night with its 100 Minutes to Jaguar event, and the result was that Apple Stores across the country were packed full of Mac enthusiasts. Apple opened the stores at10:20 PM Friday night in what was originally supposed to be a 100 minute prelude to being able to buy Jaguar from midnight until 1:00 AM. On Friday, it was announced that customers could start buying Jaguar at 10:20, with the events going until midnight. Those plans changed yet again at many of the stores as people showed up in droves.

We attended the Valley Fair event in Santa Clara, CA, near Appleis Cupertino headquarters, where more than 1000 people showed up for the event. "I got here at 9:30 [PM] tonight, and there were about 100 people in front of us," one of the attendees told us. At 10:45 PM, an Apple employee announced that the Fire Marshal had counted 1000 people in line waiting to get in, and more still were showing up. An Apple spokesperson on hand for the event confirmed that number, and told us that the company estimated more than a thousand people in line even before the doors opened.

The mood of the event was party-like, with many of the attendees there just to be a part of the party. "Hey, I just want to be a part of it all," we were told by one attendee, a software engineer who was buying some peripherals. "I thought itid be cool to see what itis all about," echoed Mike, a graphic artist for Costco. Mike was still waiting in line at 11:10 PM, and had brought his 14-inch iBook along with him. "14.1 inches, actually," he corrected us. Mike, who works with Mac OS 7.6.1 at his job (Photoshop 5.5), was looking for information on Jaguar, and was intending to buy a 17" Studio Display.

Many other attendees also bought hardware, taking advantage of discounts Apple was offering. The most popular combo of the day, at least during one 10 minute stretch when we watched the register, was Jaguar and Photoshop Elements, but it seemed that the vast majority of the attendees were buying something. Computer bags, games, utilities, cables, gadgets, and peripherals were all being rung up at the busy cash registers.

Be that as it may, Jaguar was certainly the star of the day. Those not buying Jaguar, wanted to be able to see the new OS. "I want to be able to look at Jaguar, and see if itis worth it," said one customer. This was a view echoed by others.

With so many people in attendance, Apple cut short its demos in an attempt to get in more of those waiting as soon as possible. "If you have bought something, or if you know what you are going to purchase, please do so and leave so that others can come in," was the friendly announcement from Apple employees that occasionally rang out over the crowd noise. Apple employees also made a point of letting those in line know that no matter how long it took, the store would stay open until everyone had a chance to come in. Those waiting responded with a cheer. Other Apple employees went through the line taking a poll on who was wanting to buy an iPod in order to make sure enough units were on hand to meet demand.

As was the case when Apple opened the store, there were goodies on hand. Apple was distributing Jaguar mousepads and stickers to people as they left, giving everyone a token from the event. Judging from the hordes of people and the smiles on their faces, Apple has a hit on its hands with Jaguar, and more of a hit than it had when Mac OS X was first released.