Crowds queue for new iPad in Australia

16 March, 2012 by Macworld Australia Staff
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Apple’s new iPad went on sale in Australia this morning, with Telstra and Big W stealing an eight-hour advantage over their competitors, and smaller-then-normal queues outside Apple Stores and other resellers.

While the official on-sale time for the new iPad – which features a super-high-definition Retina display, a powerful new processor and a 5-megapixel iSight camera, but isn’t seen as a major improvement over the iPad 2 – was 8am today, two Telstra stores and some Big W stores in Sydney and Melbourne began selling it at midnight.

Overall, while some significant queues formed outside Apple Stores – we saw 100 at the Westfield Southland store in Melbourne – numbers were down overall compared to previous launches and numbered just two or three outside some resellers.

Some retailers have put this down to the fact that Australians were able to pre-order the iPad for delivery today or in the next couple of days, negating the need to queue.

First in line at the Southland store were Hasindu Saranguhewage and Samitha Goonetilleke, who began queuing at 4pm yesterday.

They originally wanted to make sure they were first in line because they wanted to buy the new iPad as a surprise birthday present for a friend, but soon decided to buy it for themselves as well.

“I use an iPad 2 at uni, and often use it to take quick photos of the screen in lectures,” Hasindu says. “Now the camera’s much better, which is why I decided to buy one.”

Front runners: Samitha Goonetillek (left) and Hasindu Saranguhewage were first in the line outside Melbourne’s Southland Apple Store this morning.

Staff did the full running-past-the-queue, hooting-and-hollering welcome when the store opened, then each customer in line was personally greeted by a staff member and escorted into the store to rounds of applause.

Just a couple of shops down, Meyer had also opened at 8am and had a queue of just eight people. Macworld Australia asked some Apple fans at the back of the 100-strong Apple Store why they didn’t just take the 10 steps into the Myer store.

“They don’t make you feel as special,” they said. “We want the full Apple Store experience.”

Others said they wanted the white model, which Meyer and many other resellers didn’t have in stock.

The new iPad Wi-Fi models are available in black or white, with recommended retail prices of $539 for the 16GB model, $649 for the 32GB model, and $759 for the 64GB model. iPad Wi-Fi+4G models are available from $679 for the 16GB model, $789 for the 32GB model and $899 for the 64GB model.

Some outlets, such as Big W, are offering the iPad at a discount.

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