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28 May 2010updated 01 Jul 2021 5:44am

I joined the queue for an iPad . . .

. . . but not to buy one.

By Jason Stamper

Regular readers of this blog will be only too aware that I’m not in the market for an iPad myself — at least not the first version that’s just gone on sale in the UK. But I was intrigued enough to join the throng with a few hundred others this morning outside Apple’s flagship store on Regent Street in London, and to hear from some punters what they’re queuing for.

Outside the shop, temporary barriers had been set up to allow the queue to snake right around the block from the store. Apple staff handed out water and answered questions from those in the crowd, while tourist passers-by, aghast, snapped pictures of the crowds on their iPhones and cameras.

There are essentially three phases to this iPad purchasing lark: queue, pay, and then relax. The paying was also the chance for a little celebration this morning, due to the sheer numbers of people laying their hands for the first time on the sleek new tablet computer.

The whoops and cheers of Apple staff each time another customer came down the stairs carrying an iPad in an Apple-branded carrier bag ensured that everyone was made to feel that the ordeal had been worth it — most had queued for at least three hours.

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Anyway, I grabbed a few soundbites from these three phases:

The queue | listen here

The payment/celebration | listen here

The relief | listen here

If this morning was anything to judge by, Apple is going to sell this gizmo by the truckload in Europe, just as it has in the United States, and just as The Staggers predicted.

Jason Stamper is NS technology correspondent and editor of Computer Business Review.

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