iPad Launch: View from the Palo Alto store

Posted by on April 4, 2010 in Essay, Event, Fun, iPhone/iPad | 1 comment

The happy throngs on University Avenue

When I reserved my iPad, I selected Apple’s flagship store in Palo Alto for pickup. I had never quite understood the Apple line mentality. After all, most people could just save a lot of time and either order one online or wait a day or two.

Now I see the light.

Plus I absolutely needed to get a unit ASAP to test my software, Distant Suns. It was already live in the App Store and had over 80 downloads, so I needed to see what others were to make any fixes for things the simulator didn’t show.

I got there at about 7. Already one news van was parked across the street and about 150 people were in line. The reserved line was the shorter of the two, with maybe 50 or so.

Everyone seemed to recognize the silliness of it all, but also just how fun it was to hang out with fellow Apple fans. The store employees were top notch, handing Krispy Kreme doughnuts and coffee.

Coolest MacBook decal ever

One lovely woman behind me, illustrated her geek-cred by telling us how her husband still had his Apple III, and that it was working order. They wanted to get rid of it, but only to someone who could appreciate it. Up went my hand immediately nearly breaking the sound barrier. So not only do I end up with an iPad by day’s end, but a rare working Apple III.

Another gent went down the line handing out extra cookies he had and postcards hyping his app: Photocard. Turned out this wasn’t just any old fanboi. He was none other then Bill Atkinson, Apple employee #15, inventor of HyperCard and MacPaint. Now a highly skilled nature photographer, he wrote his app with his wife, featuring his beautiful artistry. (His app looked very good. Check out “Bill Atkinson’s Photocard.”)

And then there was the guy with a Kindle. The shame.

Me and Bill Atkinson (on right)

Me and Bill Atkinson (on right)

Another luminary in the crowd was Scott Forstall, the senior VP of iPhone software. We were hoping that Steve Jobs would show up, as he lives only a few streets away. Apparently he did come in a little later. Plus I think he already had an iPad. After all, he “knows” people.

Very Happy Campers

Finally the countdown began and the doors opened to wild cheers and applause.  The first customer, who had been there for 3 days, was in and out in no time while being met with microphones from NBC, CBS and CNet’s own Molly Wood.

Soon we were inside, each met by our own personal employee. I had mynew iPad, and accessories in a few minutes and was shortly headed on home to see what Distant Suns really looked like on the big screen.  It was really surreal in the days leading up to launch to never have hardware to test on. And the first person to see it running the way it was meant to was some anonymous guy in the bowels of Infinite Loop.I name all of my devices after famous astronomers. My iPhone is Galileo for example. The iPad? Why “Newton” of course.

Customer #1

Customer #1