My Victorious Apple Store Experience, and a Glimpse at Boston’s First iPad MPG

4/3/10Follow @wroush

I’ve returned home victorious after my morning adventure at the Apple Store in Boston’s Back Bay. As I write this, my new iPad is synching with iTunes–a process that takes some time, if you have a lot of apps, music, and photos that you want to transfer over to your iPad. So I haven’t yet really tried it out.

Being at the local Apple Store opening on the day some fantastic new product comes out is a ritual no geek can forego. So I set my iPhone to wake me up at 5:00 a.m. this morning, chugged some coffee, and rode my bike over to Boylston Street. The line was short at that point, which gave me time to stop at Dunkin Donuts for more coffee. Starbucks was still closed—a sight I rarely see, as I’m not a morning person. When I finally rolled up to the store at 6:19, I snagged the 20th spot in line, which I felt was a credible showing. Hey, I’m no Scoble. (The uber-tech-blogger was first in line at the Palo Alto Apple Store, just as he had been for the launch of the iPhone 3G.)

This was the line outside the Boston Apple Store when I arrived at 6:19 a.m.

This was the line outside the Boston Apple Store when I arrived at 6:19 a.m. Sleepy was right.

Though it’s a gorgeous warm day in Boston, it started out chilly, and the section of Boylston Street in front of the Apple Store, being so close to the Prudential Center, was a wind tunnel that my fleece wasn’t built to weather. So I shivered along with my line buddies. One was a guy named Nick, a Boston University sophomore studying computer science. Nick explained that he actually works at the Apple Store—in fact, his shift started at 11:00 a.m. today—but that Apple employees weren’t allowed to pre-order or reserve iPads for purchase. He wanted to make sure he got one, so he decided to come out and stand in line with everyone else. Nick is studying all the languages you need to build iPhone and iPad applications, and he was bubbling with anticipation.

I was, too, and we had a great conversation about what it’s like to work at the Apple Store. At this point I should confess that I actually did pre-order an iPad, but it’s the 3G version, which won’t be delivered until late April. I realized at some point this week that there was no way I could wait that long, and that I’d just have to buy a Wi-Fi iPad this week, use it until the 3G version comes, and then sell the used one. (I’ve already got potential buyers lined up, so don’t bother making me an offer!) When I explained this plan to a friend a couple of days ago, her reaction was, “You know you’ve got a problem, right?”

That's me, trying to keep warm. Nick, the Apple employee who goes to BU, is at right. Photo by Bill Ghormley.

That's me, trying to keep warm. Nick, the Apple employee who goes to BU, is at right.

Yeah, me and the thousands of other people who camped out in front of Apple Stores around the country this morning. Anyway, right behind Nick was a woman named Tina who lives in rural Connecticut and happened to be staying at a nearby hotel in Boston this weekend because her teenage kids are attending Anime Boston, the giant Japanese animation convention going on at the Hynes. (With the PAX East gaming festival last weekend, Anime Boston this weekend, and the Comic Con comic book convention next weekend, you’d think that somebody would have figured out a way to offer a three-for-one discount.) Tina didn’t know much about Apple gear, but she though the iPad sounded cool, and she said there wasn’t much else to spend her money on in the Connecticut farmlands.

Around 7:00 a.m. Apple folks came out and set up the crowd-control barriers, dividing us into two lines—those who had reserved an iPad for pickup at the store today, and those who hadn’t. At that point both lines started growing fast, up the street and around the corner. Before long I started running into people I knew, including Greg Raiz and his crew from Brookline-MA-based mobile app development studio Raizlabs; they were picking up iPads today so that they could test their new iPad-only game, Ploid (more on that below). I also got a visit from … Next Page »

Wade Roush is a contributing editor at Xconomy. Follow @wroush

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  • http://www.dailygrommet.com Jules Pieri

    Between the Twitterverse, the iPad-centric Modern Family episode, and your tale, I almost feel a part of this early adopter scene. Thanks for all the juicy detail about the experience Wade. But…Ploid….as your first use? (I know you are syncing your data…) That would not get me out of bed at 5:00AM. Looking forward to your real review, but thanks for the “Haul” story in the meantime.

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