Latest iPad empties off shop shelves

CLAIRE ROGERS AND HENRY COOKE
Last updated 17:00 25/03/2011
Karen Gilligan
EMMA ALLEN/The Dominion Post

THAT'S ENTHUSIASM: Karen Gilligan, displaying a picture of a new iPad 2 on the screen of her clunky old iPad 1, above, was planning to be up and online at 3am today, hoping to be among the first to buy the lighter new model. The iPad 2, on sale online from this morning, will be in stores at 5pm.

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Dozens of Apple fans have spent the afternoon queuing for the latest iPad, but many are set to go home disappointed.

The latest version of Apple's tablet device, the iPad 2, went on sale in select stores at 5pm with more than 50 people queuing outside Magnum Mac on Vivian St in central Wellington around 4.30pm.

There were another 30 people at Harvey Norman on Tory St. Glenn Cooksly was buying his first iPad - he had not purchased Apple's earlier version as he was waiting for an inbuilt camera, which comes with the latest model.

However he was upset that he would not be able to get the device today as Harvey Norman had already allocated tickets for their stock.

US stores sold out of the iPad 2 the weekend it was introduced there and online purchases there have a shipping time of four to five weeks.

EARLY START FOR SOME FANS

Wellingtonian Karen Gilligan had her alarm set for 2.55am this morning, hoping to be among the first to buy the iPad 2 in New Zealand.

The device was due to go on sale at 3am on Apple's local website and will be available in select stores from 5pm today.

It is thinner, lighter and faster than the original and has front and rear-facing cameras.

The cheapest iPad 2 – which has 16 gigabytes of internal storage and wi-fi connectivity – will sell for $799, while the most expensive – with wi-fi and 3G and 64GB of internal storage – will retail for $1289.

Ms Gilligan said she was keen to upgrade but would not be holding her breath. She had heard stock in New Zealand was limited and suspected online orders could take four to five weeks to arrive, as was the case in the United States.

She had bought the original iPad, which would either be sold or used by her work once she upgraded.

"My sister sends me over lots of videos of my niece in Australia and it's really nice to be able to show them to my nephews here on the iPad. It's great for viewing news ... I use it for Facebook and I have lots of different e-readers on there [for reading e-books]."

Her iPad had been invaluable in her work helping students who were blind or had low vision, she said.

"With my low-vision students it's a really nice way to give them access to large print. I can photocopy a book, send it to my iPad as a PDF and completely alter the print size."

The cameras on the new iPad would let her video-call her niece and let her students magnify people and objects to see them more clearly.

Cabinet minister – and former information technology minister – Maurice Williamson said he had the iPad 2 sent over from the United States when it was introduced there earlier this month.

The iPad 2 was a small upgrade but easier on the wrists. "I often read in bed with a big PDF on [the first iPad] and after 10 minutes or so it gets really heavy. The new, lighter one is better."

Apple would not confirm which retailers would stock the device.

A spokesman for YooBee – formerly Magnum Mac – said the iPad 2 would go on sale in all stores except its Christchurch one.

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Analysts speculate the Japan quake could cause a shortage of the iPad 2, as some of its components are manufactured there.

- The Dominion Post

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