iPad 2. The UK Launch.
It seems only right that, after having owned an iPad 2 for just over a week (since it's UK launch, on Friday 25th March 2011), I should post a short piece to my site from it.
Wednesday and Thursday of the launch week were very warm for mid March in North West England. Temperatures were in the high teens, Celsius. So, I set off to Liverpool on the train, probably a little under dressed for the cold afternoon of standing in line at the Apple Store in Liverpool One that was to follow. Although it was a sunny afternoon, I hadn't considered the cold wind blowing off the River Mersey and funnelling through the streets close to the docks.
I arrived in good time and joined the line at about 12:15pm. I estimated that I was about 50th. in line. As it turned out, I was 38th. Considering the fact that a few people had already been waiting for almost twenty four hours, I didn't think it was too bad.
Staff from the Apple Store spent the whole afternoon amongst the queuing fans, handing out complimentary water, tea and coffee. The warm drinks were certainly very welcome, though as a person on my own, I was a little concerned about taking in too much liquid with at least a five hour wait ahead of me. The line behind me grew pretty quickly and at the time the store reopened for the official 5pm launch, there were probably about 400 people there. A small team of staff also worked their way through the queue from the front, identifying which model of iPad everyone required and handing out reservation tickets.
At about 3pm the store closed for business and the staff began erecting a large black curtain across the front of the store, just inside the doors. Outside, there were photographers, journalists and film crews recording the event and interviewing willing fans, happy to share their passion for all things Apple. One of the photographers from the store tried to initiate a Mexican wave, but failed rather miserably as everyone was too concerned with just keeping warm.
Following a 10 second countdown, at exactly 5pm, the large curtain dropped to the floor and the doors opened to a loud cheer.
Each customer was assigned a personal shopper, who lead them through the store, helping with the selection of any accessories, before arriving at an area on the first floor of the store, where the iPads were being issued. They were then taken downstairs again, where payments were taken.
The whole process took less than ten minutes. Considering the volume of customers, the store didn't feel crowded and I certainly didn't feel rushed to purchase and get out.
This was my first experience of a product launch at an Apple Store. The atmosphere, anticipation and sense of community were more than compensation for the cold conditions.
When the next iPhone is launched, I will be upgrading.
Will I be getting it on launch day from an Apple Store? Almost certainly.
I've had my iPad for over a month now and, apart from playing for all of a couple of minutes with Photo Booth, I've not used either of the cameras.
I am very pleased with the iPad though. A little frustrated that some of the apps I use regularly on the iPhone do not have iPad versions. In particular, Calvetica, Paypal Tweetbot and Instagram could really do with full screen optimised versions.