Apple's much-anticipated iPad goes on sale


It was even enough to get Steve Jobs out of the house Saturday. The Apple CEO made a surprise visit to the Palo Alto Apple store to see how things were going.

Elsewhere across the Bay Area, crowds were lining up to get their hands on Apple's latest must-have item.

The excitement has been building for some time. People started lining up in front of the Palo Alto store at 11 a.m. Friday.

The Best Buy in San Francisco sold out of iPads as soon as it opened Saturday, but a new shipment came in a few hours later.

Many shoppers ordered directly from Apple in advance and came to the store for pick up.

"It just seemed like coming down to participate in that event was more interesting than waiting at home for UPS to show up," Mike Anderson said.

The iPad promises to be a cross between an iPhone and a laptop.

Users started using the iPad on the spot.

"This allows me to walk around with a pound and a half worth of equipment that does 90 percent of the work I do every day," Kurt Collins said.

Apple offered demonstrations and instructions to new users, who also booted up the iPad on site. That is where customers realized a few things they were not expecting.

"It would be great if there were a front mounted camera so I could do video chatting," Nitin Gupta said.

"The screen gets smudged pretty quickly so you end up wiping it a lot because it reflects a lot," Tobias Kemper said.

And some people are choosing not to even bother with Apple's latest creation.

"I'd like to see multi tasking for the device, I'd like to see USB, I'd like to see some replacement technology for web browsing and videos," Kenny Vick said.

Analysts expect Apple will sell 300,000 iPad this weekend -- 30,000 more than the iPhone when it first launched in 2007.

Excitement over the iPad swept across other parts of the country Saturday as well.

There were long lines in New York City and rain could not keep iPad fanatics away in Chicago.

And the iPad apps are already waiting. More than 1,000 applications have been designed just for the iPad, including games, tools and business downloads.

App developers say the iPad offers a totally different experience.

"It's like a real object; you're actually pushing pixels with your finger," Bento product manager Ryan Griggs said. "It feels like you're touching a piece of paper, touching a page. It's something you can't really replicate with other devices."

There are already more than 150,000 applications for the iPhone and the iPod Touch. Apple says most of those apps will work on the iPad.

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