Thousands of people have queued in several capital cities to be the first to buy an iPad, following its launch outside the US. The gadget has gone on sale in Europe, Japan and Australia. Apple delayed the international launch due to high demand in the US.
In Paris a few hundred people waited to enter the Apple store and get their hands on the hi-tech tablet-device.
“I’m really happy because I’ve been waiting for a good three hours,” said one young man. “I got here at five in the morning. It’s not going to change my life, but the atmosphere, the razzmatazz, and Apple’s marketing and communication strategy paid off. In the end I’m happy to get hold of one.”
More than a thousand fans turned out in Tokyo. The first buyer had camped out for two nights. One executive said that from now on users could be like Samurai warriors with their swords, brandishing the iPhone in their left hand, and the iPad in their right.
Australia saw the same clamour for the device, bigger and more versatile than a phone but less cumbersome than a laptop. In Sydney the queue was 200 metres long outside the Apple store.
One customer said: “You can do without a laptop. It’s perfect for reading, it’s prefect for surfing the web, it’s perfect for emailing, those are the main things that people generally use a laptop for.”
There have been warnings about possible delivery delays due to the iPad’s popularity. Its success has helped Apple become the world’s third most valuable company on the stock market. But its profits lag behind those of Microsoft, and the gadget faces growing competition from other devices.