Regular readers of this blog will be only too aware that I’m not in the market for an iPad myself — at least not the first version that’s just gone on sale. But I was intrigued enough to join the queue with a few hundred others last week as the iPad went on sale for the first time in the UK, at Apple’s flagship store on Regent Street in London.
Outside the shop, temporary barriers had been set up to allow the queue to snake right around the block from the store. Apple staff handed out water and answered questions from those in the crowd, while tourist passers-by, aghast, snapped pictures of the queue on their iPhones and cameras.
There are essentially three phases to this iPad purchasing lark: queue, pay, and then relax. The paying was also the chance for a little celebration last Friday morning, due to the sheer numbers of people laying their hands for the first time on the sleek new tablet computer.
The whoops and cheers of Apple staff each time another customer came down the stairs carrying an iPad in an Apple-branded carrier bag ensured that everyone was made to feel that the ordeal had been worth it — most had queued for at least three hours.
Anyway, I grabbed a few soundbites from these three phases:
The queue | listen here
The payment/celebration | listen here
The relief | listen here
If that morning was anything to judge by, Apple is going to sell this gizmo by the truckload in Europe, just as it has in the United States, and just as I grudgingly predicted.