About 8:30 Friday morning, Brian Dorr emerged, with a large smile and his arms raised, from the
He and his wife, Donna, got what they came for: the third-generation
While the rest of the mall's stores were closed and window displays were dark, a line formed around the second-floor Apple Store as shoppers gathered to purchase Apple's latest coveted gadget.
Apple started selling its newest tablet Friday, betting that the sharper screen and faster chip will extend its lead over
The new iPad, unveiled March 7, includes a chip that enables better graphics and boasts a screen with more pixels than traditional high-definition TVs, allowing for sharp and detailed animation, gaming and movie playback. It also can run on long-term evolution, or LTE, wireless networks that deliver data faster.
Apple is selling a $499 base model that has 16 gigabytes of memory and works only on Wi-Fi networks. An $829 model has 64 gigabytes of memory and works on both Wi-Fi and LTE networks.
As the Dorrs left with the sleek white plastic bag holding their new iPad, they were talking about apps they wanted to get for it.
"I didn't want to buy another of the older model," she said, adding that they pre-ordered to reduce their wait at the store.
Apple was expected to have sold more than 1 million iPads by the end of Friday; it took nearly a month for Apple to sell its first 1 million units of the original iPad.
Loud cheers could be heard in The Mall in Columbia, as the Apple Store allowed the first shoppers inside at 8 a.m. The mall was open overnight, so several shoppers opted to bring sleeping bags and camping chairs to be near the front of the line. By 9 a.m., however, the line that wrapped around the corner from the store, reaching the mall's entrance, had cleared.
Dozens of Apple employees helped direct shoppers, some handing out preprinted cards detailing the various options — black or white; 16 gigabyte to 64 gigabyte; Wi-Fi or 4G — to speed up the process.
There was no sign of the protests calling for changes in labor practices at Apple's suppliers in China that occurred at Apple stores in Washington, New York and San Francisco. Just eager consumers.
Victor Washington, 45, arrived about 8:30 a.m., expecting a long wait. But "this is the shortest I've been in and out of here," he said.
The Columbia resident said he purchased the first-generation iPad in 2010 but rarely gets to use it because his teenage children take it to play games.
"They dominate it," he said. But, he added with a grin, "this one's mine."
Tribune Newspapers and Bloomberg News contributed to this article.