Apple fans flock to Canadian stores for new iPad
Published Friday, March 16, 2012 12:20PM EDT
Apple fans flocked to the company's stores across Canada on Friday, eager to get their digits on the latest version of the iPad.
The tech giant put the tablets on sale at its almost two dozen stores at 8 a.m. local time. Retailers such as Future Shop also opened early to accommodate demand for the new tech toy.
The cheapest Wi Fi-only model goes for $519, while the most expensive version, which can access high-speed LTE mobile networks and has 64 gigabytes of storage, sells for $849.
The new model comes with a faster processor and a much sharper screen. It also boasts an improved camera, with optics similar to that of the latest iPhone.
Apple tablet fans could wait up to three weeks to get another chance to buy one if they fail Friday, Apple says.
Only 10 countries in total were part of Friday's release date for the popular gadget, simply called the "new iPad," rather than the much-rumoured iPad 3 or iPad HD. In a week, 25 additional countries will receive the new tablet.
In Asia on Friday, lineups grew quickly in cities such as Tokyo, Hong Kong and Singapore. The new iPad was also available in countries including Australia, The United Kingdom, France and the United States.
About 450 people lined up outside Apple's Ginza store in Tokyo, with some spending the night sleeping outside the store.
"I wanted to be able to show it off to my friends," said Norio Nakayama, a 33-year-old computer consultant. "I think I'll give my older iPad 1 to my wife."
In Hong Kong, a steady stream of buyers picked up their new devices at preset times at the city's only Apple store after entering a random draw online.
The system also helped thwart attempts by visitors from mainland China -- Apple's fastest growing market -- who have a reputation for scooping up Apple gadgets to get them earlier and avoid sales tax at home.
The iPad's release date in China has not yet been announced
Apple has sold more than 55 million iPads since its debut in 2010, including some 40 million last year. Researchers estimate that the iPad has more than 60 per cent of the market for tablets, despite being the most expensive.
Annual releases of the newest Apple tablet have drawn major events over the past three years, second only to the iPhone when it goes to new gadget hype. While eager customers could have ordered the tablets to be delivered to their homes on Friday, many chose to line up to be part of the excitement.
"People always stop to talk to us," Harry Barrington-Mountford, 22, said in London. "I am exhausted though, I have only had about 45 minutes of sleep."
Others were perhaps prescient to the fact Apple wouldn't be able to keep up with the number of online orders. On Thursday, the company told many of those who were expecting to get Friday deliveries that their orders would be delayed for up to three weeks.
With files from The Associated Press