Apple’s Ipad International Launch


Today is the Official International Launch of Apple’s Ipad and Asia Media has managed to get its hands on the Apple Ipad 64 GB wifi+3G version. Our correspondent in the UK was at hand to experience the launch.

Today I got my iPad. In fact I got two of them within 30 minutes of the official launch! Both are the high-end model of 64 GB Wifi + 3G at £699 (RM 3390) a piece. The UK nationwide launch for the Ipad was at 8am (GMT) today.

Last week, I thought of pre-ordering it through the Apple website but was told by the online chat staff to expect delivery some time in June. Instead of waiting, I thought it would be a good opportunity to attend my first ever Apple product launch. Two days before the launch, I was talking to the Apple staff at my local Apple store (Churchill Sq, Brighton) regarding the logistic issues and chances of me securing myself an Ipad on the day of its release. I was advised to come early, very early – well before 8am. The Apple store and shopping centre normally opens at 9am, but they were set to open one hour earlier for precisely this reason. It was a great idea as about 100 people eventually turned up.

I arrived at 6.30 am  there were about 20 people there already. I gathered the first person arrived around 3 am! Last night, I saw on the news that people were already camping outside the London flagship store on Regent Street, Oxford Circus. The queue built up gradually and the Apple staff turned up at 7 am to address the throng of Apple fans. 1 hour to go….

I actually felt embarrassed. I never thought I’d be one of those die-hard Apple geeks. It would be at least another month or two before it is available in Malaysia.

7.30 am – There must be about 80 or some people by now. Some school kids in uniform turned up. They had an exam at 9 am. I doubt they managed to get one before their exams.

7.50 am – We were ushered into the Shopping Centre in blocks of ten to prevent a mad rush. The entire shopping centre was still closed. We felt like school kids.

8.00 am – There was a camera crew and a countdown at the Apple store. There must have been about 30-40 Apple staff on-site as well. I must say I was rather impressed with how well organised Apple was. Chatting to the staff while waiting in line, they mentioned that they have learned through experience with the various product launches they had before the Ipad.

8.15 am – Everyone was cheering when the first customer walks out with his Ipad.

8.25 am – I walk away with my two Ipads.

Talking to other Apple fans there, I gathered that Apple is known to deliberately create an impression of scarcity  to further hype up demand for its products.  Apple forbids any of its premium resellers to accept reservations and any of its staff to comment about stock levels of the ipad. Apple even threatened to ‘mystery call’ resellers posing as customers willing to pay a premium to reserve an ipad and any reseller caught in breach of agreement risk losing its license.

11.00am – I posted a comment on the BBC news website regarding my Ipad launch  ‘adventures’. I got a telephone call from the BBC within 2 minutes asking me to tell them about my experience. Totally random & unexpected!

The contents of the box are rather light. The ipad itself, a usb cable, a power adapter, and a small manual/booklet. That’s it.

The official Ipad case from Apple itself! It fits rather snugly and had decent reviews from the Apple US website.

I only had chance to review the Wall Street Journal ipad app. After all the ipad’s intention is to replace newspaper and books. I must say I am impressed. The layout of the screen is exactly identical to the paper version. Except when the articles and videos ‘come to life’ and I can interact with it via the touch screen, it sure feels a little like Tom Cruise in Minority Report. It is definitely something I can get used to in minutes. I can save articles of interest for review later and browse through previous days edition.

I won’t waste time covering other functionality aspects of the Ipad as I am sure there are plenty of other sites out there that did a great job.

So what is the one thing I love most about the Ipad?

Honestly, The one thing I like most about my Ipad is the fact that I can really lie down on my bed and browse the web, watch videos, etc in comfort! You can never really do that with a laptop. It is just difficult with that flip-up ancient thing resting on your chest or lap whilst you lie in bed. With the Ipad it is a dream!

Finally, I am sure a lot of you will be asking about the 3G version’s micro simcard. The Micro simcard is just a cut out version of a normal simcard. If you have precision cutting tools you can make a microsim card out of your regular sim card.

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~ by David Wong on May 28, 2010.

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