Although he isn't a die-hard Apple fan, Stanchev said he wanted to be among the first to buy the iPad Air - he got a 16GB white one - so that he could "brag about it to friends."
Sitting on an orange armchair outside the Apple Store, he carefully unwrapped his new purchase and admired it.
"It's actually super, super light," he said. "It's beautiful."
Inside the store, Apple employees nearly outnumbered shoppers by 10 a.m., with customers breezing in with no wait. Behind the main checkout area, more than 200 boxes of iPad Airs were stacked on a counter, with more in the back.
Shoppers who were looking at the store's demo units said they liked how they could hold the tablet in one hand.
Although Rick Montano, a filmmaker from West Hollywood, owns an iPad mini and an iPad 3, he pre-ordered the Air online after it was introduced last month.
"The 3 was too heavy and the mini didn't have retina display and I missed the larger screen," the 29-year-old said. "This seems like the perfect convergence of the two."