I’m in New Orleans for a few days and, long story short, although I pre-ordered the New iPad it’s arriving to an address I won’t be at for a while, so since I was up early this morning thought I’d go to the nearest Apple store in Metairie and see if I could pick one up, or at least be part of the excitement that always accompanies Apple launch mornings.
The store had opened at 8, but I arrived at about 8:55, and the scene was not at all what I expected. There was a crowd outside the Apple store, but it was of blue-shirt employees, I walked up and said I was there for a 64GB white AT&T iPad, the fellow handed me a card, and 5 minutes later I was checked out. No line, no waits, no anything! Here’s a picture of the front of the store, at 9:20am.
The woman who checked me out said there had been a bit of a line that morning at 8, but just about 20-30 people and she thought that most people didn’t know they were opening at 8 that morning instead of the normal 10.
I walked back outside and grabbed a water bottle from the big pallet they had of them (for the expected line) and a Verizon employee accosted me to show ask if I had gotten AT&T or Verizon. When I replied “AT&T” he said “oh man!” and showed me the speed tests he was getting on his iPad 2 tethered via wifi to a Droid device he had, an impressive 20mbps down. “Think how fast it’d be going direct to an iPad.” (I agree, but I already have a Verizon Nexus device, a T-Mobile Blackberry, a Sprint iPhone, so I wanted to complete the quartet with another carrier and ensure I could have coverage anywhere.) I decided to celebrate with some beignets across the food court from Cafe Du Monde:
So why the lack of a line? Perhaps it was mix up about store opening time, as they suggested. Maybe New Orleans is a Samsung town. Perhaps Apple just did a better job with the pre-orders arriving on launch day, so people didn’t feel the need to go to the store. Maybe people weren’t as excited as I was about the new launch. All in all, it doesn’t matter to me. The screen is gorgeous, it’s restoring now from iCloud backup, and I’m pleased as punch to have one on launch day and I’ll probably spend far too much time today staring at the amazingly high resolution. If you were waiting because you thought the stores might be crazy today, maybe head to them half an hour after open time and skip the queues.