NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — Apple Inc. fever was running high for New York City technophiles as the company released the updated version of its popular iPad tablet on Friday.
The iPad 2 became available in retail stores in the Big Apple at 5 p.m. Friday, and sales were set to open nationwide at the same hour, local time. For early birds, the Cupertino company opened online sales of the tablet at 4 a.m. Eastern time.
When the original version of the iPad went on sale in April, Apple said it sold more than 300,000 in the first day. It ended up selling more than 15 million in the first nine months, including 7.3 million to holiday shoppers in the October-December quarter.
1010 WINS’ Terry Sheridan reports on the release of the iPad 2 from the Apple Store on Fifth Avenue
The new iPad model comes with several improvements over the original version but the same price tag — $499 to $829, depending on storage space and whether they can connect to the Internet over a cellular network — hobbling efforts by rivals at breaking Apple’s hold on the emerging market for tablet computers.
One New Yorker, “Hassan,” was the first person on line, ahead of hundreds of gadget fans, at the Apple Store on Fifth Avenue in Manhattan, but he didn’t get there early – he paid the previous number one $900 to give up his spot, reports CBS 2′s Terry Sheridan.
Is the iPad 2 that valuable to him?
“It’s the opportunity to be at the front of the line that’s valuable, not so much the iPad,” Hassan said.
Another New Yorker, “Jake,” was a mercenary, making money just by standing in line.
“Right now I’m getting paid $20 an hour to wait in line and get a generous man an iPad,” he said. “Yeah, I already kind of would go for an iSandwich or an iToilet right about now, actually.”
The iPad 2 looks much like the first iPad, only with a sleeker, lighter body with a curved back. Among changes is the inclusion of cameras for videoconferencing, one on the front and one on the back.
With the original iPad, Apple proved there is a large market for a tablet that’s less than a laptop and more than a smart phone, yet performs many of the same tasks. Competitors including Dell Inc. and Samsung Electronics Co. have been trying to lure consumers with smaller tablets, without much success. In February, Motorola Mobility Inc.’s Xoom went on sale with a new version of Google Inc.’s Android software that was designed for tablets, not smart phones.
To underscore the importance of the iPad to Apple, company CEO Steve Jobs emerged from a medical leave earlier this month to unveil the new version to bloggers and Apple enthusiasts. Jobs, 56, announced in January that he would take a third leave of absence to focus on his health. In the last decade, he has survived a rare but curable form of pancreatic cancer and undergone a liver transplant.
After its U.S. launch Friday, the iPad 2 goes on sale March 25 in 26 other markets, including Mexico, New Zealand, Spain and other European countries.
Getting an iPad2? Don’t understand all the hubbub? Tell us your thoughts in the comments section below.
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