iPad party


POSTED: Sunday, April 04, 2010

Rows of peppy Apple employees dressed in blue revved up the crowd with cheers and a countdown, as more than 200 eager customers waited outside the Apple store at Ala Moana to be among the first to get their hands on an iPad.

“;We want to thank you for being a part of history,”; called out a staffer with typical Apple gusto, before leading the countdown and opening the store at 9 a.m. yesterday.

Ryan Ozawa, a blogger, podcaster and self-professed geek, had come down from Mililani with his 12-year-old daughter Katie, arriving at 6:30 a.m. just for the fun of it.

“;There's no reason to stand in line,”; acknowledged Ozawa, who had reserved his iPad in advance. “;It's the social experience.”; Apple employees handed out iced tea, gave customers high fives and even tried to get a stadium-style wave going.

Frivolity aside, Ozawa predicted that the sleek, flat gadget will have a big impact. With a touch screen measuring 9.7 inches diagonally, it lands somewhere between an iPod Touch and a laptop. Users can watch movies and TV shows, read books and e-mail, and surf the Web in comfort—anywhere they'd like. There is no mouse or separate keyboard, simply a screen that lights up at the touch of a finger.

;[Preview]  Apple Fans Applaud iPad Debut

Apple fans lined up hours before stores opened to get their hands on the new iPad.


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“;I think it's going to revolutionize casual computing,”; Ozawa said. “;It's the definitive couch computer or bedroom computer or even bathroom ...”; his voice trailed off into laughter.

“;We can barely remember a time before mice,”; he continued, referring to the handheld device that guides a computer cursor. “;We're going to feel the same way about keyboards. It's going to change the way we interact with our computers. You're still going to use a keyboard to write articles or long documents. But 90 percent of what you use a computer for, this will be it.”;

His daughter had one plan for their new toy. “;I want to play games,”; Katie piped up. “;That's all I care about.”;

Trent Avent, 13, and his mother, Terri, came to Ala Moana Center at 5 a.m. on the last day of their spring break, ready to buy an iPad before boarding a plane back to Washington, D.C. Their five-person family already has four iPod Touches, four laptops and one iMac home computer, plus an iPod Shuffle, an iPod Nano and two iPod classics, Trent said. But the iPad seemed like a must-have, as well.

“;It's like a Kindle and iPod and a computer all in one,”; Trent said. His mother said she appreciates its size, which is easy on the eyes. “;I like things larger now,”; she said. She also thinks it will help her keep up with her oldest son, who is traveling the world.

Further back in the line, Chris Luke, general manager at Easy Music Center, said he expected that musicians would find it useful, with sheet music and lyrics available at the touch of the finger.

“;There is so much you can do with it because it's so portable,”; he said. “;It's more intimate because of its size.”;

His friend, Jonathan Sugai, who had already made it into the store and out by 9:30 a.m., sat down and began loading applications onto his brand-new, 32-gigabyte iPad while waiting for Luke. A massage therapist with Shiatsu Therapists of Hawaii, Sugai plans to use the $599 gadget for work and play.

“;I like having a full-screen calendar because I have to schedule a lot of appointments,”; he said. “;And I'll be able to show my clients videos on anatomy,”; he added, lighting up his screen with an image of muscles and sinews. “;It's a very powerful teaching tool to show rather than tell.”;

He also looks forward to watching movies on it himself. “;This device is about making consuming media more enjoyable,”; Sugai said.