Traders bulk buy iPads to feed global appetite for Apple

As the gadget hits 10 countries, dealers target Indian market – and even pay shoppers to

Many queued for the love of iPad. Some queued for money. In among the fanatic Apple fans and the techno-geeks desperate to be among the first in the world to get their hands on the third generation of iPads, there were were people being paid to queue on behalf of traders bent on out-manoeuvring the company's sales plans.

Apple had set a rule that each customer would be allowed to buy no more than 2 of the electronic tablets. But this proved little impediment to those who really wanted more. The new version of the device was released yesterday in 10 countries, leaving fans in many other parts of the world willing to pay premium prices. This provided enough of a lure for entrepeneurs – some called them black-market traders – to pay scores of people to queue for them.

Groups of dealers at stores in London were able to walk off with armfuls of iPads after organising buyers, having provided them with the cash and taken receipts. One dealer said: "I hope to get around 70 iPads today. I will be sending them on to India. The guys who are queuing get £10 or £20 for a day's work. This is not illegal."

Among the professional queuers, however, were genuine fans. Some had been queuing for days to ensure they were among the first to be served.

Yesterday's rapturous reception of the new iPad will have gone some way to persuading the company's investors that Apple can sustain the mastery of the tech industry that it achieved under Steve Jobs' leadership. Apple remains the world's most valuable company, with a market cap of nearly $555bn. On Thursday, its stock touched $600 (£381) for the first time.

The new product itself is an upgrade, rather than a new launch. The processor is faster, it works with 4G mobile phone networks, and a new "Retina Display" makes the visuals noticeably sharper. The device's camera has been upgraded to five megapixels and new voice-dictation software comes as standard. Combine that with a continued commitment to the epoch-defining aesthetic ideals of British designer Jonathan Ive and it's no surprise that early reviews have been gushing in their praise.

For the thousands queuing in Sydney, Tokyo, Hong Kong, London and New York, the incentives were obvious.

"If you work in the media, you have to have Apple products," said Mim Bala, a 26-year-old Londoner who works in broadcasting. "People will laugh at you if you don't. My boss said what swayed it for me in my interview was he saw me take an iPhone out of my pocket."

Bala does not describe himself as a fanatic, but he did leave a bitten apple outside an Apple store in New York on the day that Jobs died.

Judging by the crowd outside the Regent Street store, it would appear that the cult of Apple is also snaring an older generation. David Treadway, 62, who also works in broadcasting, said that he was a recent but committed convert. "My family all had Apple products, which led me to try the MacBook computer – it was an improvement on Windows," he said. "I wanted to do the 'Apple experience', so I came down on the first day. I'm not one of those types who elevates the company to messianic levels, but I do think the products are excellent."

Ranging in price from £399 to £659, the new iPad was not cheap, according to some customers, but many seemed convinced by it. "It's steep," said Torsten Thiel, a 45-year-old financier, "but it's worth it."

Apple has sold around 55 million iPads since the first version launched in 2010. Rival tablet computers have since emerged, developed by competitors such as BlackBerry, Amazon and Samsung, but the iPad still commands up to 60 per cent of the market, according to industry estimates.

ebookA delicious collection of 50 meaty main courses
Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

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

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Gadgets & Tech

    SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant - Dublin

    £13676.46 - £16411.61 per annum + OTE: SThree: SThree Trainee Recruitment Cons...

    Ashdown Group: Database Analyst - Birmingham - £22,000 plus benefits

    £20000 - £22000 per annum + excellent benefits: Ashdown Group: Application Sup...

    SThree: Recruitment Resourcer

    £20000 - £25000 per annum + Uncapped Commission: SThree: Do you want to get in...

    SThree: Recruitment Consultant - IT

    £25000 - £30000 per annum + Uncapped Commission: SThree: Sthree are looking fo...

    Day In a Page

    Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

    Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

    Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
    Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

    Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

    Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
    China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

    China's influence on fashion

    At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
    Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

    The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

    Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
    Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

    Rainbow shades

    It's all bright on the night
    'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

    Bread from heaven

    Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
    Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

    How 'the Axe' helped Labour

    UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
    Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

    The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

    A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
    Welcome to the world of Megagames

    Welcome to the world of Megagames

    300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
    'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

    Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

    Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
    Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

    Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

    The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
    Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

    Vince Cable exclusive interview

    Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
    Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

    Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

    Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
    Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

    It's time for my close-up

    Meet the man who films great whites for a living
    Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

    Homeless people keep mobile phones

    A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before