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Across the Country, Fans Gather for iPad
Published: April 3, 2010

SAN FRANCISCO —Apple’s most devoted fans congregated on Saturday morning at stores around the country to pick up their latest object of desire: the eagerly anticipated iPad. Lines stretched for a few blocks in themorning hours at Apple stores in New York and San Francisco. Blue-shirted Apple employees passed out free snacks in the chilly early air. At 9 a.m., they greeted each buyer entering stores with anapplause and fanfare normally reserved for athletes winning medals or championships. “It’s beyond technology. It’s a culture. It’s a community,” said Rey Gutierrez, a die-hard loyalist with a tattoo of theApple logo on his left hand, who had waited outside the San Francisco Apple store since 4 a.m. “No other company can drop a device and generate this much energy. Every big brand is envious of whatApple can do.” Many of the people waiting for the iPad had a vague sense that they were involved in yet another big Apple moment, although they could not precisely say how they would use the tabletcomputer, which shares features of both laptops and mobile phones. Charles Wolf, an analyst at Needham Research, said he expected that Apple would sell more than 300,000 iPads this weekend. He said theintroduction “says more about the role Apple is playing in our culture and little about the ultimate success of the iPad.” The iPad has been generally well reviewed, although there are features noticeablyabsent: the ability to run more than one application at a time, for instance, and lack of support for Adobe’s Flash, which means video on many Web sites will not play. After Apple started handing outiPads to people who had pre-ordered them online, most buyers expressed a certain amount of satisfaction — if not quite with the device, but with the process of getting one.
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