- Fans spend up to five days sleeping in the street outside UK Apple Store
- Apple stores around the world besieged
- Woman in New York offers her place in queue for $1000
- ‘Teardown’ specialists iFixit flew to Melbourne to open up new machine and look at technology inside
- ‘Oh my goodness – it’s so beautiful’ say component experts
- Tech reviewers are unanimous: The screen is a revolution
Apple fans have finally got their hands on the new iPad – bringing to an end a five-day queue for some eager buyers.
The queues stretched around the block on London’s Regent Street this morning as people wait to snap up the gadget.
Zohaib Ali, 21, of Uxbridge, was the first in a queue of 600 people after waiting patiently for five days – and finally, after 141 hours, the wait was over.
He said: ‘I’m so happy. I’m really tired but it was worth it.’
Eager for a bite of the Apple: People sit in the queue for the new iPad 3 outside the company’s flagship store on Regent Street in London
He said: ‘I am very excited, I have been following this since it was announced, all the rumours and everything.
‘Being able to finally have it in my hand is really an experience.
‘It is better than the other iPads because of the HD resolution – you’ve got clearer movies and clearer games – I use it as a multimedia device.’
Christof Wallner, 23, from Austria, was the first new iPad buyer in Germany
Cashing in: Amanda Foote, left, waited with her friend in the line outside New York’s main Apple store
Craig Joppins, 24, from Romford, Essex, who was third in the queue, said: ‘I bumped into two people I’d met at a previous Apple event.
‘This is my fifth time in an Apple queue and this has been my best experience so far without a doubt.
‘You really need to join a queue to discover what different things go on during an event.
‘It’s well worth waiting all that time.’
Mr Ali suffers from autism and his mother, Rahat Ali, believes that Apple products have helped him overcome his disability.
She said: ‘Apple products are very good for autism. They are very easy to use and he is relaxed when he is using them. Usually he doesn’t want to go out in a crowd but he is very happy queuing here.’
The tablet computer, which has a higher resolution screen than previous models and a five megapixel camera with auto focus and auto exposure, ranges in price from £399 to £659.
Despite competition from cheaper rivals the iPad remains the most popular tablet computer. Apple has sold more than 55 million iPads since its launch in 2010, including 40 million last year.
Mr Ali’s friend, Ali Tarighi, 18, of Acton, has been queuing with him since Saturday morning. He said of the new iPad: ‘I wanted to be one of the first to get my hands on it really.’
He added: ‘It can be hard at times, especially at nights. It gets really cold but it’s going to feel great when I hold the iPad up in triumph.’
Waiting: Avid Apple fans were lined up around the block eight hours ahead of the iPad’s 8am launch
Those waiting were handed free food and drink by companies they had contacted through Twitter.
Harry Barrington-Mountford, 22, of Upminster queued to buy the iPad 2 with his girlfriend Fenella Barnes, 30, and is now waiting for the newest model.
He said: ‘We had such a great time queuing last time that we decided to do it again. People always stop to talk to us. I am exhausted though, I have only had about 45 minutes of sleep.’
Miss Barnes is not intending to buy an iPad for herself but is queuing up to buy one for a friend. She said: ‘I have been tempted to get one but I haven’t been tempted enough. If I had a spare £500 then maybe I would consider it!’
Noah Green, a 16-year-old student from Stanmore had been fourth in the queue but was paid £300 to move back in the line. He said: ‘It is worth it. I am still 18th in the queue so I will be one of the first to buy an iPad. I am going to sell it though and earn some money.’
Customers have also been queueing overnight in other countries including France and Singapore.
But the very first customer in the world to buy the new device was 34-year-old construction manager David Tarasenko, who grabbed one at the stroke of midnight at a Telstra store in Melbourne, Australia.
He said he could not wait for the device, ever since Apple CEO Tim Cook revealed the device last week.
First buyer Tarashenko said: ‘When Tim Cook announced it, it sounded like such a magical tool. I just got hyped into it, I guess.’
The new iPad is going on sale in ten countries on Friday, including the United States, Canada, Singapore, France and United Kingdom.
Eagle-eyed shoppers may see that, due to exchange rates and pricing, Australians are paying less than UK residents, who shell out £399 for the most basic model.
The clamour for the device is intense – among those in the queue outside Sydney’s flagship Apple Store was Stephen Parkes, who was paid more than £600 to wait in line for four days by the founder of an odd jobs website.
Another man, student Ryan Han, also queued for hours. He said: ‘I get a high waiting in the line and picking up one of the first products being retailed.
‘I did that for iPad 1, 2 and will do it for 4 as well.’
As the countdown continues outside Australia, early reviews of the new iPad are arriving – and there is only one word on everyone’s lips: Screen, screen, screen.
While the new ‘pad is more of an evolution than a revolution in most areas, it is not hyperbole to refer to the display as a revolutionary jump, and it appears to be love at first sight for every single person who gets a glimpse.
Reviewers are gushing over the 3.1million pixel screen, comparing the experience to that first moment of putting on prescription glasses after years of poor eyesight.
While Apple are notoriously clever at pre-launch PR, and cherry-pick their review outlets, even the most unbiased of reviewers, such as the highly-regarded Walt Mossberg of AllThingsDigital, can’t help but fall in love with the crystal-clear display.
The over-riding theme is: If you take just one look at the screen, you will never view any kind of screen in the same light again. Even the iPad 2’s stunning display begins to look like a 1990s television.
Criticisms center around Apple’s usual closed-shop approach. As usual, there are no standard computer ports, such as HDMI connections or USB ports.
While nearly every other device has moved towards the micro-USB standard, Apple insists on a lack of ports and its own propriety connections.
So what does the tech-world make of it?
AllThingsDigital is a well-respected tech site, the off-shoot of tech conferences formed in 2003. They regularly get top guest speakers such as Bill Gates and the now-deceased Steve Jobs in for informal, personal chats.
Founder Walt Mossberg, a respected commentator over the last few decades, was all about the screen.
He said: ‘Using the new display is like getting a new eyeglasses prescription – you suddenly realise what you thought looked sharp before wasn’t nearly as sharp as it could be.
‘It has the most spectacular display I have ever seen in a mobile device. The company squeezed four times the pixels into the same physical space as on the iPad 2 and claims the new iPad’s screen has a million more pixels than an HDTV.
‘All I know is that text is much sharper, and photos look richer.
‘My epiphany came when I placed my iPad 2 next to the new model, with the same text on the screen. Letters and words that had seemed sharp on the older model five minutes earlier suddenly looked fuzzier.’
Macworld said: ‘You’re left with the same sort of typographic excellence you’d expect in a printed book.
‘The effect is even more dramatic with photos and video. Pictures reveal small details that simply weren’t there before. A photo that looks just fine on an iPad 2 looks almost undefinably better on the new iPad.
‘It’s the same image, but all of a sudden, there’s much more information there – small textures and tiny details that were previously omitted.
‘The videos look great. Watching an HD movie or TV show on the new iPad is like having a home theater in your lap.
‘Well, assuming you’ve got some good headphones, of course. The iPad’s mono speaker seems to be unchanged from the previous model.
‘Users of the iPad 2 shouldn’t fret: Their iPad investment is certainly good for another year. But they might not want to look too closely at the new iPad’s screen. Once you get a load of that Retina display, it’s hard to go back to anything else.’
SlashGear was impressed by the battery life: ‘A four hour loop of HD video continuously playing – with email, Twitter and other updates being pulled in over the background – saw the new iPad’s battery drop from 70-percent to 51-percent. Extrapolating from that rate, the tablet could last more than 20 hours.’
They added: Steve Jobs would have approved of the new iPad. With its focus on the holistic experience rather than individual boasts around its constituent parts, it’s the epitome of the Post-PC world the Apple founder envisaged.
‘No lag or delay; no frustrating cloud settings or arcane minimum software requirements. Simply pick up, swipe, and you’re immersed in a joined-up ecosystem.
‘Apple doesn’t need another revolution, it has already started one, and the new iPad brings a fresh degree of refinement to a segment in which it is undoubtedly the king.’
TechCrunch followed Walt Mossberg with the eye analogy: ‘Even if you have perfect vision, indulge me here for a second.
‘You know when you go in for an eye exam and you’re asked to look at a combination of letters and numbers on a chart against a far wall? You read the first few lines, then realize you actually can’t go any further.
‘Then you get prescribed glasses (or contacts) and you can all of a sudden read every letter and number. And even the ones you could read before are now so much clearer.
‘It’s weird because I was never one of those people who thought the original iPad’s and the iPad 2′s screen was poor (but there were plenty of those people in the post-iPhone Retina world).
‘I guess it’s just like a pre-glasses world – you never realize how blurry things are because that’s just how you’ve always seen everything. And then you put the glasses on and you wonder how you ever managed without them.
Once you see and use the new iPad, there will be no going back.’
However on the downside, TechCrunch warned to choose your storage space wisely: ‘The one downside of the new Retina-ready apps is that they’re going to take up more space.
‘And you should think about this storage requirement if you’re considering the 16 GB version of the new iPad.
‘Another thing to consider: with the new iPad, you’ll obviously want HD versions of movies and TV shows and those tend to be twice the size of the standard definition versions. Apple adding movies as a part of iCloud (they previously added TV shows) mitigates some of this, but it’s still something to note.
‘On the iPad I’m testing out, I have three pages of apps, a few hundred photos, one HD movie, and one music album. It’s really not that much stuff, but it takes up over 20 GB of storage. The apps alone are over 10 GB of that.’
They also expressed surprise about the lack of Siri, Apple’s disital personal assistant: ‘For some reason, Apple has chosen not to do that, at least not yet (the popular theory is that they’re still working on scaling issues with the product in beta).
‘One key component of Siri did make the jump however: Dictation. Clicking the microphone button on the virtual keyboard allows you to talk rather than type wherever there is a text input box. It works well.
‘I would not be shocked to see Siri come to this version of the iPad in a software update somewhere down the line.’
The Verge praised Apple’s iconic style: ‘Much like the classic Dieter Rams Braun products most modern Apple devices are aping, one feels that 50 years ago or 50 years from now, this product won’t look too out of place. In the world of industrial design, that’s a rarity.
However they criticised the placement of the headphone jack (on the upper left-hand corner): ‘I feel like it would make a lot more sense on the bottom of the device.
‘Secondly, it would be nice to be able to dock the iPad in landscape mode, but that would require a second 30-pin dock connection on the side of the tablet. I reported long ago that a version of the iPad which functioned like that was in play at some point at Apple, and I wish they’d kept it around.
‘Minor gripes aside, the iPad remains best in breed when it comes to design and materials. Other tablets may have more ports or larger screens, but few can match the elegance, sleekness, or solidness of this device.’
The reviewers added: ‘Yes, this display is outrageous. It’s stunning. It’s incredible. I’m not being hyperbolic or exaggerative when I say it is easily the most beautiful computer display I have ever looked at.
‘There’s something almost bizarre about how good this screen is. After the launch event, I described the screen as “surreal,” and I still think that’s a pretty good fit.’
On whether to purchase, they opined: ‘For owners of the iPad 2, this isn’t necessarily a slam dunk. While the updated features are a boon to the new iPad, it doesn’t offer an experience that is significantly different from the previous version.
‘If your screen never bothered you, and you never wanted a faster cellular connection or a better camera, there’s not a great argument to upgrade (especially considering many of you just shelled out for a new tablet less than a year ago).
‘However, if you’re in the market for your first tablet, or upgrading from the original iPad or an Android device, do not hesitate. The new iPad is the most functional, usable, and beautiful tablet that any company has ever produced.’
The Mail Online’s verdict?
If you are taking the plunge for the first time, or upgrading from iPad 1, this is a worthy if pricey purchase. If you already have an iPad 2, the benefits may not be worth the cost.
However the screen really is a thing of wonder, and must be experienced in person to see just how vivid the screen is – particularly with apps built to take advantage of it, such as the new version of sky-watching app Star Walk, which can show 300,000 stars on screen at once.
Even on the home screen, though, icons are stunningly crisp – and printed words in iBooks are so sharp it almost hurts to look at them.
With Full HD video, there’s a cinematic feel like watching a big flatscreen TV set – except the screen is in your lap.
Photos really pop out of the screen – and even ones taken on the device’s 5-megapixel camera are crisp enough to zoom right in.
Overall, the device doesn’t feel a huge amount faster, though – the new processor clearly has its work cut out just keeping the screen going.
And despite Apple’s boasts, the games still don’t look a patch on titles on Xbox 360 or PC – but as developers get to grips with the new hardware, that will change.
If you do take the plunge, you may as well do it sooner rather than later, as iPads generally don’t drop much in retail price until the annual cycle starts again.
If you are interested in the competition, the best Android tablets have matured to a point where they offer an experience comparable to Apple, with the benefits of features such as standard ports, drag-and-drop file transfers, and more flexibility within the OS.
The innovative and smooth tablet/netbook hybrid ASUS Transformer Prime is probably the one to try out, as it is the best Android experience out there to date.