Anticipation Builds for iPad

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    NEWSLETTERS

    TK
    Live.GDGT.com
    The touch-screen keyboard on the iPad is almost full-size, Jobs said at the conference.

    The iPad will soon be available in San Diego but local stores could have only a handful in stock.

    The celebrated iPad goes on sale Saturday at 9 a.m. and you can bet the lines will be long. Sellouts are anticipated as stock is limited.

    Best Buy stores with official Apple stores inside them may only have 15 iPads each, according to local blogger and NBCSanDiego contributor Jenn Van Grove.

    She’s debating whether she will be among those who will wait in line for the latest Apple release.

    “This is a milestone event that we’re living through,” she said. “There have been tablet computers before but all the attention that this is getting, all the pre-orders, the expected shortage in terms of stock comes Saturday, leads me to believe that we’re going to look back on Saturday as an important moment in the history of technology and Apple.”

    Apple won't say how many of the $829 iPads it has sold in advance of their debut Saturday, but there are estimates that the company has sold close to 500,000. Close to 90,000 were pre-ordered the first day it was available, according to some reports.

    Will Zich, an 11-year-old, started saving money last year for a new iPod Touch, but changed his mind when the iPad was unveiled in January. He can rattle off all his reasons for wanting one, such as the e-book store, plus a bigger screen and faster processor than his iPod Touch. He says the iPad will be useful on road trips, and for playing games and surfing the Web early in the morning when the rest of the family is still sleeping.

    To be practical, Zich says he might also bring it to school and use it to record homework assignments.

    Other people don't expect to ever leave home with it.

    Brian Herlihy, a 31-year-old financial analyst in New York, expects the iPad will offer him a way to read magazines, newspapers and maybe books without the clutter of paper, and as a Web surfing device that's faster to start up than his laptop. On the street or when riding the subway, though, the iPhone is a more appropriate size.

    Not everyone is planning to make that kind of room in their lives for an iPad, of course.

    Matt Jones, a 50-year-old video producer in Columbus, Ga., has a Windows Mobile smart phone. He doesn't pay for home broadband Internet access or cable TV, and he certainly isn't going to find a spot in his budget for an iPad. Plus, he already has plenty of gear to carry when he's working.

    And when he's not, he says, "I wouldn't want to have to have a purse just to have the iPad."