New iPad release draws die-hard fans, critics

(KGO)
March 16, 2012 7:34:11 PM PDT
Neither rain nor prices ranging from $500 to $830 proved to be obstacles for Apple customers who wanted to snap up the new iPad on the very first day Friday.

The phenomenon never seems to end.

The rain held off until 3 a.m. along San Francisco's Stockton Street. One line was for customers who had pre-ordered their new iPads online. Another was for those who hadn't. "I got here at 1:30 this morning. That was enough waiting for me in this sort of weather," Joshua Leavitt told ABC7. He works for an errand service. He was hired to stand in line. Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak was first in line at an Apple store in Los Angeles. Even when he travels away from the Bay Area, he loves to join others in line.

The magic moment came at 8 a.m. when the doors opened. Some customers were upgrading from the original iPad that came out two years ago, so they were excited to see the new HD quality display and experience the faster processor chip. "Apple makes the best products out, so I had to have the best," Michael Chambers said.

However, there were others who showed up with a message for iPad buyers. Change.org has been collecting petition signatures urging Apple to step up its efforts to improve worker conditions at contractors in China that assemble its products. A few weeks ago, Apple invited ABC News Nightline inside Foxconn where iPads and iPhones are made. Apple is having an independent group do audits to stop excessive overtime and use of underage workers.

"I'm just an Apple user. I'm not an organizer or anything like that, but the reason that we do see changes is because Apple is starting to see that its customers are concerned with these practices," Sanjay Garla told ABC7.

Analysts are predicting that Apple will sell 1 million iPads in the next few days. "The killer app right now is definitely streaming video and on this fast LTE AT&T network, man, it just comes up virtually instantaneously," said John Brittan with AT&T media relations.

While everyone is talking about iPad sales, we often forget this is also a big day for iPad accessories such as covers and even Bluetooth wireless speakers.


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