My iPad 2 Launch Day Exerience

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iPad 2 Launch Day in Austin

My iPad 2 Launch Day is coming into its home stretch. I’m home now, with lovely new iPad 2 and some accessory friends – and just have to get it synced and setup to my preferences a little later this evening.

I’ve been to a few big Apple iDevice launches over recent years, and most have been a pretty good experience – or at least as good as they could be when you’re lined up for many hours waiting to fork over tons of money for a shiny new device. I have to say that today has been great, easily my favorite iPad / iDevice launch day. That happy face on Will – the super helpful Apple store staffer who got me checked out with my iPads (one for me, one for a friend) – nicely sums up how good a day it was.

Here’s a few other reasons why the day went so well for me:

— I chose my venue right and got my timing right. I’ve learned after a few years that Apple stores are always very well organized, have by far and away the most stock available, and are very friendly and helpful throughout the day while you’re waiting right through to when they’re checking you out and doing your personal iPad setup if you want their help on that.

Early in the week I decided to go to my closest Apple store here in Austin, Texas – even though there are closer Best Buy, Target, and Walmart outlets. I packed myself a small iPad carrying bag with a charger (which of course was never needed) and some other little essentials and got to the mall that houses my local Apple store at right around 8:30AM. I was Number 8 in the line, and I knew right then that I had a long day of waiting ahead, but that once the iPad 2 went on sale at 5:00 I’d be amongst the first in. And I got in on the second batch of people, very close on the heels of the first handful. I was done, dusted, and in my car at 5:20.

By that time, there were well over 200, perhaps close to 500 people waiting in line.

iPad 2 launch day in Austin

— The Apple staff were all full of energy all day. They regularly offered waters to all in line, as well as coffee in the afternoon. They also really cranked through the checkout process with everyone as we got into the store. They were giving good demos of the Apple Smart Covers for the iPad 2 (which are very cool, more on those soon), helping everyone with checking out, setting up, choosing accessories and so on. There seemed to be as many – or more – staff as customers during the whole time I was in the store.

Line Buddies

— I had superb company / line companions all day long. Grant, John, several others, and especially Sean and Roxanne (shown above) were excellent to talk to – and the day really went by very quickly considering the number of hours we were there.

I also enjoyed checking out Roxanne’s website. She’s a tv host, video producer, radio personality, a former final four contestant on NBC’s The Apprentice, and a blogger on a variety of subjects. Give her site a look here if you have a chance:

— My original iPad served me well all day to check email, talk to people on Twitter, throw a few posts up to the site with the lovely new Blogsy blog editor app, and play show and tell with some of my favorite apps and my line buddies. Its battery barely broke a sweat and remained at around 70% at the end of the day.

So yeah, I’m a happy new iPad 2 owner. Thanks to all the cool Apple staff for their efforts today and to all my great line buddies for making the hours pass away so quickly.

Hope all off you had similarly good experiences on launch day. Let us know in the comments how it went for you.

Patrick Jordan

Founder and Editor in Chief of iPad Insight. Husband, father to a lovely daughter, Commander of the Armies of the North, dog lover (especially Labs), Austinite, former Londoner, IT consultant, huge sports nut, iPad and mobile tech blogger, mobile apps junkie.

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19 thoughts on “My iPad 2 Launch Day Exerience”

  1. Patrick,

    Did you get the smart cover? If so which one, the leather or the other material. I’ve read that it scratches the side of the iPad, hopefully not. Let us know your thoughts and impressions and what accessories you got ;)

    1. Hi maximus. I got a leather smart cover in dark blue. I’m very impressed with it so far, and definitely don’t see any scratches on my new baby. :)

  2. Patrick, I would say that we had completely opposite experiences, with me going the retail route. After today, I will go to the Apple Store in the future if at all possible. Unfortunately, it wasn’t possible today due to me being on the road in a place where there are no Apple Stores. I’m just glad I managed to get my hands on an iPad 2, but I didn’t get exactly what I wanted due to stock constraints on some of the models. Lesson learned.

    1. Sorry you had such a runaround. Daft that no pre-orders or reservations were available this time round. And yeah, I never trust the other retail outlets – always prefer the Apple Store experience.

  3. Glad you had a great experience. It is interesting that you mentioned the battery life on your original iPad. My ipad1 has started draining the battery FAST! Like by the end of the day, after using it all day in teaching, I had 49% left is all! I’ve just noticed this since the 4.3 update.

    1. Wow, that’s not good. Mine is also running 4.3 and as I said battery life is still as outstanding as ever.

  4. Hi Patrick,
    I tried the Domain in Austin but gave up when I saw how long the line was. The also ran out of iPads after about an hour and a half. I had a friend who waited several hours to be sorely disappointed. However, on a whim he went to “Popup” store Apple setup for SXSW in downtown Austin. He called me at 9PM….a line of 10 people. I shot down there, sure enough about 10 people in line. I waited less than 10 minutes to get in the store. The “Apple iPad Store”. You see the Popup store is selling NOTHING but iPads and iPad accessories. The longest wait of my purchase was for a SXSW visitor from Europe in front of me to work out a problem with his bank over the phone. All told…about 20-25 minutes to get my 64GB AT&T 3G iPad.

    1. Wow – that’s surprising that the Domain store ran out so quick. I think they coped well with the original iPad launch, or maybe I’m just recalling wrong.

      Glad you got a good result in the end.

      1. I think Apple was stacking Austin allocation in favor of the “Popup” store. It is about 1/2 size of Barton Creek, they have it staffed with folks from stores in Austin, San Antonio, and probably Houston. My sales rep was from an Apple store in San Antonio. The customers were from all over the world, it was wild…every couple of minutes someone shot out the front door with their new iPad(s).

        1. It’s sure going to be interesting to hear what the first day / first weekend sales numbers are.

  5. Hey Patrick
    It was sure a nice read… Hope you are enjoying your ipad 2. Just wanted to clarify one bit…. is the ipad 2 with 3G available without a carrier …… coz i’m from India and want to get it thru a frn there…

    1. I believe the iPad 2 is carrier unlocked, at least in US and Canada. You’ll need to watch the details for launch in India specifically to confirm.

  6. If you plan to do a transfer of all your iPad 1 stuff to your iPad 2 using the backup/restore function in iTunes please let us know how it goes. Any advice or issues you encounter would be appreciated.

    1. Hi Dave – I always like to set a new device up ‘fresh’ – even though it’s a fair bit more time-consuming. So that’s how I did my iPad 2 – no backup / restore involved.

    2. I did a transfer of all my iPad 1 stuff to my iPad 2 via the backup/restore. Everything went smooth. I had to reenter passwords for some applications, but that was no big deal. The only other minor thing you might run into was a slight reordering of program icons due to the iPad 2 coming with two extra programs not found on the iPad 1 (FaceTime, Photobooth). Also my iPads are AT&T 3G iPads. I had the unlimited data plan still active on the iPad 1, swapping the microsim from the iPad 1 to the iPad 2 worked just fine so now the iPad 2 is “grandfathered” with the “Unlimited” data plan.

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