And, lo, the Apple tablet is handed down

The iPad combines the best bits of a smartphone and a laptop, say its creators. But there's no camera...

The Apple iPad hit store shelves in the United States yesterday, and gave shoppers their first chance to decide whether the tablet device is worth all the breathless publicity.

At Apple's flagship store on Fifth Avenue in New York City, cheers went up as shoppers finally entered the shop at 9am local time, emerging a few minutes later carrying the first iPads, a device touted as a bridge between a laptop and smartphone. Two hours after the doors opened, dozens of hopeful shoppers remained in line, while inside the store those who had already picked up their iPads cracked them open and began passing judgement.

Simon Cox, a high school maths teacher visiting from Manchester, England, immediately used his iPad to email friends and family from the store. "It looks fantastic, so nice to hold and play and touch," he said, noting that the device is smaller than he expected. "It's easier to carry around. I certainly know I'll use it when I'm out and about."

Numbers built steadily at stores around the country beginning early Friday, with shoppers waiting at locations in New York, Washington, Boston and San Francisco. But the lines were noticeably shorter than those that ushered in the iPhone in 2007. In Richmond, Virginia, about 100 people gathered at an Apple store, drinking coffee and mingling in a festive, holiday atmosphere. Matt Reidy, IT director for SnagAJob.com, said he got there at 1am and was first in line. "My wife thinks I'm crazy," said Reidy, 43. "She said I'd be the oldest person out there."

Apple unveiled the iPad in January after months of speculation, and its stock has risen steadily over the past two months. It has a lot riding on the iPad. Analysts say the company has already received several hundred thousand pre-orders, with sales estimated at anywhere from four million to seven million in the gadget's first year.

With a 9.7in touchscreen and weighing in at 1.5lb, the device resembles an oversized iPhone and runs on the same operating system. It starts at $499 (£328) in the US for a short-range Wi-Fi model, topping out at more than $800 for a 3G-enabled version.

The iPad is designed for media of all sorts, including games, video, pictures, electronic books and magazines. It can access roughly 150,000 already existing iPhone apps, as well as new ones freshly designed for the iPad. Apple is also launching its own digital book business to compete with the Kindle from Amazon and other e-readers and e-books.

The iPad is the first in a wave of lightweight tablet devices expected to hit the market later this year. Enthusiasts have praised the its elegant screen and fast web browser, but have also pointed out that it lacks a camera, and it cannot run more than one app at a time or view popular video sites that use Adobe's Flash software. No UK launch date has yet been set, but is likely to be at the end of this month.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Life and Style
ebooksA superb mix of recipes serving up the freshest of local produce in a delicious range of styles
Life and Style
ebooksFrom the lifespan of a slug to the distance to the Sun: answers to 500 questions from readers
Sport
David Moyes gets soaked
sport Moyes becomes latest manager to take part in the ALS challenge
Life and Style
techCould new invention save millions in healthcare bills?
Voices
A meteor streaks across the sky during the Perseid Meteor Shower at a wind farm near Bogdanci, south of Skopje, Macedonia, in the early hours of 13 August
voicesChuck Hagel and Martin Dempsey were pure Hollywood. They only needed Tom Cruise, says Robert Fisk
News
peopleEnglishman managed quintessential Hollywood restaurant Chasen's
Life and Style
food + drinkHarrods launches gourmet food qualification for staff
Arts and Entertainment
Michael Flatley prepares to bid farewell to the West End stage
danceMichael Flatley hits West End for last time alongside Team GB World champion Alice Upcott
News
Members and supporters of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) community walk with a rainbow flag during a rally in July
i100
Life and Style
Black Ivory Coffee is made using beans plucked from elephants' waste after ingested by the animals
food + drinkFirm says it has created the "rarest" coffee in the world
Arts and Entertainment
Jamie T plays live in 2007 before going on hiatus from 2010
arts + entsSinger-songwriter will perform on the Festival Republic Stage
Life and Style
food + drinkThese simple recipes will have you refreshed within minutes
News
Jermain Defoe got loads of custard
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

    Data Insight Manager - Marketing

    £32000 - £35000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client based o...

    Data Insight Manager

    £40000 - £43000 Per Annum plus company bonus: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd:...

    Trainee Recruitment Consultant - IT

    £20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE £40,000: SThree: Computer Futures has been est...

    C# Software Engineer (ASP.NET, C#, CSS, Java Script, JQuery)

    £40000 - £50000 per annum + Benefits, Training & Bonus: Harrington Starr: C# S...

    Day In a Page

    All this talk of an ‘apocalyptic’ threat is simply childish

    Robert Fisk: All this talk of an ‘apocalyptic’ threat is simply childish

    Chuck Hagel and Martin Dempsey were pure Hollywood. They only needed Tom Cruise
    Mafia Dons: is the Camorra in control of the Granite City?

    Mafia Dons: is the Camorra in control of the Granite City?

    So claims an EU report which points to the Italian Mob’s alleged grip on everything from public works to property
    Emmys look set to overhaul the Oscars as Hollywood’s prize draw

    Emmys look set to overhaul the Oscars as Hollywood’s prize draw

    Once the poor relation, the awards show now has the top stars and boasts the best drama
    French connection: After 1,300 years, there’s a bridge to Mont Saint-Michel

    French connection: After 1,300 years, there’s a bridge to Mont Saint-Michel

    The ugly causeway is being dismantled, an elegant connection erected in its place. So everyone’s happy, right?
    Radio 1 to hire 'YouTube-famous' vloggers to broadcast online

    Radio 1’s new top ten

    The ‘vloggers’ signed up to find twentysomething audience
    David Abraham: Big ideas for the small screen

    David Abraham: Big ideas for the small screen

    A blistering attack on US influence on British television has lifted the savvy head of Channel 4 out of the shadows
    Air strikes? Talk of God? Obama is following the jihadists’ script

    Air strikes? Talk of God? Obama is following the jihadists’ script

    The President came the nearest he has come yet to rivalling George W Bush’s gormless reaction to 9/11 , says Robert Fisk
    Ebola outbreak: Billy Graham’s son declares righteous war on the virus

    Billy Graham’s son declares righteous war on Ebola

    A Christian charity’s efforts to save missionaries trapped in Africa by the crisis have been justifiably praised. But doubts remain about its evangelical motives
    Jeremy Clarkson 'does not see a problem' with his racist language on Top Gear, says BBC

    Not even Jeremy Clarkson is bigger than the BBC, says TV boss

    Corporation’s head of television confirms ‘Top Gear’ host was warned about racist language
    Nick Clegg the movie: Channel 4 to air Coalition drama showing Lib Dem leader's rise

    Nick Clegg the movie

    Channel 4 to air Coalition drama showing Lib Dem leader's rise
    Philip Larkin: Misogynist, racist, miserable? Or caring, playful man who lived for others?

    Philip Larkin: What will survive of him?

    Larkin's reputation has taken a knocking. But a new book by James Booth argues that the poet was affectionate, witty, entertaining and kind, as hitherto unseen letters, sketches and 'selfies' reveal
    Madame Tussauds has shown off its Beyoncé waxwork in Regent's Park - but why is the tourist attraction still pulling in the crowds?

    Waxing lyrical

    Madame Tussauds has shown off its Beyoncé waxwork in Regent's Park - but why is the tourist attraction still pulling in the crowds?
    Texas forensic astronomer finally pinpoints the exact birth of impressionism

    Revealed (to the minute)

    The precise time when impressionism was born
    From slow-roasted to sugar-cured: how to make the most of the British tomato season

    Make the most of British tomatoes

    The British crop is at its tastiest and most abundant. Sudi Pigott shares her favourite recipes
    10 best men's skincare products

    Face it: 10 best men's skincare products

    Oscar Quine cleanses, tones and moisturises to find skin-savers blokes will be proud to display on the bathroom shelf