updated 03:30 pm EST, Fri March 11, 2011
iPad 2 launch lines mark return to form
With less than two hours to go, lineups for the iPad 2 have shown a return to form after the near-absent Verizon iPhone queues. The lineup at the 5th Avenue store, usually the longest in the US, is believed to have grown to over 1,000 people. Nearby, the SoHo store's line wrapped around the corner and extended to at least Houston Street.
As expected, Apple's popup SXSW store in Austin is real and has its own line. Other queues are ranging into the dozens or hundreds, some of which may have been longer than for the original iPad.
Few instances have been mentioned of queues at carrier or third-party stores, though limited supply may still make Apple's official shops the most popular choices.
The much more substantial queues than for the Verizon iPhone have been helped mostly by the launch of a genuinely new product but also by deliberate steps to guarantee large lines. Apple declined to allow pre-orders and thus guaranteed large queues from early adopters. It also timed the launch for 5PM on a Friday and made it much easier for workers to get time off. Launching a month later has also meant warmer weather.
No lineups have been reported for non-Apple tablets, including the Galaxy Tab and Xoom.
SoHo: image via Don Carlo IV
Austin SXSW (6th and Congress): image via CNN
Old Orchard (Skokie): image via David Chartier
Crossroads (Albany): image via Rene Ritchie