iPad-mania as thousands queue for global roll-out

Thousands of fired up and sleep-deprived gadget fans mobbed shops in Australia and Japan Friday as Apple's iPad, touted as a revolution in computer use and publishing, began its international launch.

A queue some 200 metres (yards) long stretched round the block at Apple's flagship central Sydney store, flummoxing commuters bemused by the hype, while similar scenes played out in downtown Tokyo.

The iPad - a flat, 10-inch (25-centimetre) black tablet targeted at the leisure market - was also going on sale in Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Spain and Switzerland on Friday as part of a staggered global roll-out.

In central London about 40 enthusiasts clad in sleeping bags and blankets were queuing in the middle of the night outside the city's cavernous Apple store.

In Sydney, security guards had to quell pushing and shoving amongst the media as Rahul Koduri, who queued for some 30 hours from 2:00 am Thursday, became the first to buy the touch-screen computer.

"It's fantastic, it was so worth the wait," said the 22-year-old, brandishing two iPad boxes after his long wait in the chill of the late Australian autumn.

The international launch date was pushed back by a month after huge demand in the United States, where one million iPads were sold in the first 28 days after the product's debut in early April.

Prices in Japan and Australia for the basic 16GB iPad are comparable to US prices, once sales tax is included, although a significant markup by Apple in Britain and continental Europe has triggered some grumbling.

In Australia a 64GB version that runs on advanced 3G phone networks is priced at 1,049 dollars (889 US), which in sterling terms is around 13 percent cheaper than in Britain.

In Japan, whose corporate giants once ruled the technology roost, more than 1,000 buyers lined up in front of Apple stores and outlets of its exclusive local partner, mobile phone carrier Softbank, along with big electrical shops.

Media crews flocked to the stores as broadcasters flew helicopters to gain aerial views of a 1,200-strong queue at the Apple store in Tokyo's Ginza shopping district.

Kazuki Miura, a 38-year-old freelance technology writer wearing a home-made iPad headpiece, was the first to get his hands on the brand-new gadget at Softbank's main Tokyo store.

"Now the time has come for us to hold an iPhone in the right (hand) and iPad in the left - just like the samurai with two swords!" Softbank president Masayoshi Son said at an in-store presentation.

The multi-functional device is tipped by some pundits to revitalise media and publishing, with many major newspapers and broadcasters launching applications.

But in Japan, content providers including powerful newspaper groups - less affected by the market downturn that is roiling media groups in the West - are taking a wait-and-see approach about rolling out iPad "apps".

On London's upmarket Regent Street, Jake Lee, a 17-year-old student from Essex, was at the front of the queue with two friends after a 15-hour wait that had stretched since midday Thursday.

The group had received "a few weird looks" and an offer of 200 pounds (290 dollars) to give up their places at the front of the queue, but they refused. "It's for us, we don't want to give it to anyone else," said Lee.

California-based Apple plans to bring the iPad to Austria, Belgium, Hong Kong, Ireland, Luxembourg, Mexico, the Netherlands, New Zealand and Singapore in July.

More than 5,000 apps have been developed for the device, according to an Apple spokesman, in addition to the 200,000 programs already available for the iPhone and iPod Touch, most of which run on the iPad.

Capital Markets analyst Mike Abramsky estimated that Apple is selling more than 200,000 iPads a week - more than estimated Mac computer sales of 110,000 a week, and vying with iPhone 3GS sales of 246,000 a week.

Apple has declined to reveal the number of pre-orders received for the iPad internationally, but Abramsky put it at around 600,000.

burs-dwa/jit

Voices
A Russian hunter at the Medved bear-hunting lodge in Siberia
Save the tigerWildlife charities turn to those who kill animals to help save them
News
Davis says: 'My career has been about filling a niche - there were fewer short actors and fewer roles – but now I'm being offered all kinds of things'
PeopleWarwick Davis on Ricky Gervais, Harry Potter and his perfect role
News
i100
Sport
Frank Lampard will pass Billy Wright and equal Bobby Charton’s caps tally of 106 caps against
sportFormer Chelsea midfielder in Etihad stopgap before New York contract
PROMOTED VIDEO
Life and Style
ebookA wonderful selection of salads, starters and mains featuring venison, grouse and other game
Life and Style
ebookAn evocation of the conflict through the eyes of those who lived through it
Arts and Entertainment
The first film introduced Daniel Radcliffe to our screens, pictured here as he prepares to board the train to Hogwarts for the first time.
booksHow reading Harry Potter helps children grow up to be gay-friendly
Arts and Entertainment
A scene from Aladdin is performed at the Tony Awards in New York in June
theatreBrit producer Lythgoe makes kids' musical comedy a Los Angeles hit
Sport
Usain Bolt of Jamaica smiles and shakes hands with a competitor after Jamaica won their first heat in the men's 4x100m relay
sport
News
Chancellor George Osborne, along with the Prime Minister, have been 'complacently claiming the economy is now fixed', according to shadow Chancellor Ed Balls
i100... which is awkward, because he is their boss, after all
Life and Style
A small bag of the drug Ecstasy
Health
Life and Style
Floral-print swim shorts, £26, by Topman, topman.com; sunglasses, £215, by Paul Smith, mpaulsmith.co.uk
FashionBag yourself the perfect pair
News
news
News
Netherlands' goalkeeper Tim Krul fails to make a save from Costa Rica's midfielder Celso Borges during a penalty shoot-out in the quarter-final between Netherlands and Costa Rica during the 2014 FIFA World Cup
newsGoalkeepers suffer from 'gambler’s fallacy' during shoot-outs
News
people
Arts and Entertainment
Standing the test of time: Michael J Fox and Christopher Lloyd in 'Back to the Future'
filmReview: A week late, Secret Cinema arrives as interactive screening goes Back to the Future
Extras
indybest
News
i100
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Gadgets & Tech

    (Senior) IT Support Engineer - 1st-3rd Line Support

    £40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A successful IT service provider that has bee...

    Recruitment Consultant - Bristol - Computer Futures - £18-25k

    £18000 - £25000 per annum + Commission: SThree: Computer Futures are currently...

    Trainee Recruitment Consultant - Real Staffing - Leeds - £18k+

    £18000 - £27000 per annum + Commission: SThree: Sales - Trainee Recruitment Co...

    Trainee Recruitment Consultant - Manchester - Progressive Rec.

    £18000 - £23000 per annum + Commission: SThree: Progressive Recruitment are cu...

    Day In a Page

    Save the Tiger: Meet the hunters tasked with protecting Russia's rare Amur tiger

    Hunters protect Russia's rare Amur tiger

    In an unusual move, wildlife charities have enlisted those who kill animals to help save them. Oliver Poole travels to Siberia to investigate
    Transfers: How has your club fared in summer sales?

    How has your club fared in summer sales?

    Who have bagged the bargain buys and who have landed the giant turkeys
    Warwick Davis: The British actor on Ricky Gervais, how the Harry Potter set became his office, and why he'd like to play a spy

    'I'm a realist; I know how hard this business is'

    Warwick Davis on Ricky Gervais, Harry Potter and his perfect role
    The best swim shorts for men: Bag yourself the perfect pair and make a splash this summer

    The best swim shorts for men

    Bag yourself the perfect pair and make a splash this summer
    Has Ukip’s Glastonbury branch really been possessed by the devil?

    Has Ukip’s Glastonbury branch really been possessed by the devil?

    Meet the couple blamed for bringing Lucifer into local politics
    Dress the Gaza situation up all you like, but the truth hurts

    Robert Fisk on Gaza conflict

    Dress the situation up all you like, but the truth hurts
    Save the tiger: Tiger, tiger burning less brightly as numbers plummet

    Tiger, tiger burning less brightly

    When William Blake wrote his famous poem there were probably more than 100,000 tigers in the wild. These days they probably number around 3,200
    5 News's Andy Bell retraces his grandfather's steps on the First World War battlefields

    In grandfather's footsteps

    5 News's political editor Andy Bell only knows his grandfather from the compelling diary he kept during WWI. But when he returned to the killing fields where Edwin Vaughan suffered so much, his ancestor came to life
    Lifestyle guru Martha Stewart reveals she has flying robot ... to take photos of her farm

    Martha Stewart has flying robot

    The lifestyle guru used the drone to get a bird's eye view her 153-acre farm in Bedford, New York
    Former Labour minister Meg Hillier has demanded 'pootling lanes' for women cyclists

    Do women cyclists need 'pootling lanes'?

    Simon Usborne (who's more of a hurtler) explains why winning the space race is key to happy riding
    A tale of two presidents: George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story

    A tale of two presidents

    George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story
    Restaurateur Mitch Tonks has given the Great Western Pullman dining car a makeover

    The dining car makes a comeback

    Restaurateur Mitch Tonks has given the Great Western Pullman dining car a makeover
    Gallery rage: How are institutions tackling the discomfort of overcrowding this summer?

    Gallery rage

    How are institutions tackling the discomfort of overcrowding this summer?
    Louis van Gaal has £500,000 video surveillance system installed to monitor Manchester United players

    Eye on the prize

    Louis van Gaal has £500,000 video surveillance system installed to monitor Manchester United players
    Women's rugby: Tamara Taylor adds fuel to the ire in quest to land World Cup

    Women's rugby

    Tamara Taylor adds fuel to the ire in quest to land World Cup