They Came, They Waited, They Bought - A New iPad That Is

The first one arrived at 5AM. The last 500 went home empty handed. But several hundred got a new iPad 2 Friday at the Barton Creek Mall Apple Store in Austin, TX. Another few hundred got one at the Pop-up store in downtown Austin, created for the South by Southwest event. When I left there at 8PM there were still close to 100 waiting in line.

Across town at The Domain Apple Store several hundred more got their iPad 2 fix.

iPad 2Shoppers lined up early across the U.S. for the iPad 2

I wandered up and down the line at the Barton Creek Mall Apple Store, talking to people to see why they were there, why they wanted the iPad 2, and why it was worth it to them to wait in line.

Carmen, who was the first in line, told me that her husband is going to Europe for several weeks and she was buying two so that their family could communicate using face time while they were apart. This iPad 2 will be Carmen’s first ever Apple product purchase. At the time we spoke she had already been in line ten hours, but she was still excited to be there.

The second person was Ann and Ann had a big grin on her face. She said she had been waiting since Christmas to get her first iPad because she saw one a friend had. Ann has an iPod touch, but has never used a Mac. Ann got in line around 7AM.

Also arriving at 7AM was an old friend of mine named John. John currently has the first generation iPad, but said he needs the advanced features of the new version because he uses it for his business. He wants to edit “laying back in a comfortable chair using iMovie on the iPad.” 

Next was the student who wants to carry the iPad to class rather than his MacBook Pro. And the young man who really, really hates standing in line, but he’s leaving town tomorrow with a 17 hour flight ahead of him and can’t imagine surviving the flight without a new iPad.

One young man is a school teacher who currently has a first generation iPad that he uses for all of his classes as a teaching tool. He projects from his iPad to a screen. He wants the new iPad because of new features and speed.

There were some definite trends that I noticed as I visited with people. A lot of people were buying their first Apple product. And I do mean a lot.

At least half dozen guys were buying the second generation iPad and passing down the first generation (their words, not mine) to their significant other. A few guys were waiting in line to buy an iPad 2 as a surprise gift for girl friends or sisters.

Not one person said they were getting a 16GB version, but numerous people said they were upgrading from the size they got for the iPad 1.

The thing that surprised me the most was the large number of buyers who have never used Apple products before and how many of the previous users were upgrading the sizes of their new iPads.

As for me, I am taking my new iPad 2, which I upgraded in size and just finished syncing, off for some get acquainted time.