Apple's iPad 2 launch: Here comes the obsession over long lines

Apple's iPad 2 launch: Here comes the obsession over long lines

Summary: Apple will launch its iPad 2 in the U.S. and the obsession over how many people are waiting in line is getting to be a bit much. It's only going to get worse.

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Apple will launch its iPad 2 in the U.S. and the obsession over how many people are waiting in line is getting to be a bit much.

You know the drill. Apple launches product, long lines form around the block and the company makes the news. We all fawn over the latest greatest Apple gadget.

But a funny thing happened to Apple recently: Verizon launched the iPhone 4 and there weren't long lines. Verizon noted there were short lines because a lot of people---especially customers eligible to upgrade---ordered the iPhone 4 a week earlier than launch. Verizon hasn't disclosed iPhone 4 sales yet. At Apple's Stockton Street store in San Francisco there were more journalists than people in line for the Verizon iPhone (right).

Notice how Apple won't allow you to preorder until early Friday morning. Obviously, Apple would like some pictures of video of people camping out for the iPad 2.

However, Apple may not see big lines anyway. Why? Apple has a lot more distribution this time around. The first iPad launched at Best Buy and 221 Apple stores. The iPad 2 will launch at its 236 U.S. Apple stores and 10,000 other points such as AT&T, Verizon, Wal-Mart, Target and Best Buy. Simply put, there's no reason to camp out. Apple CEO Steve Jobs said last week that the iPad 2 will be everywhere. He wasn't kidding.

Nevertheless, we'll focus on the lines. Then we'll get the analysis about what it means if only 100 people are camped out Apple's New York City retail stores.

How bad is this line obsession? Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster penned a research note Tuesday that mentioned the word "line" 28 times. The bottom line comes down to this: Apple will sell 1 million iPad 2s way faster than the 28 days the first version took because it has greater distribution.

Munster writes:

Due to the many differences between the first iPad launch (right) and the iPad 2 launch this Fri. (3/11 at 5pm) it is difficult to gauge how long lines will be. That said, we believe concern for weak initial demand, stemming from the short lines at the Verizon iPhone launch, are unfounded. We believe there will be lines for the iPad 2 on Fri. but they may be shorter than lines for the first iPad launch. That said, we believe that initial demand will be stronger for iPad 2 than it was for iPad 1 (reaching 1m units faster than the 28 days it took for the original iPad).

Meanwhile, the first iPad was available to preorder 22 days for delivery on the first day (only in Wi-Fi). Munster continues:

Generally, the length of the lines at Apple retail stores on launch day have been a helpful early indication of demand. However, factors like online pre-orders, simultaneous international launches, weather, timing in the day and the day of the week can all impact a consumer's willingness to go stand in line, but may not necessarily be indicative of immediate purchase intentions. For example, lines for the iPhone 3GS were 35% shorter than lines for the iPhone 3G, but it reached 1m in the same 3 day span (despite shipping in fewer countries at launch). Likewise, lines for the original iPad were longer than previous iPhone lines, but Apple sold just 300k iPads on launch day; then iPad sales consistently beat estimates as Apple increased its supply.

To cap it all off Munster has a line graphic.

So here's the scenario. Some fool will surmise that short lines mean iPad 2 didn't come out of the gates fast enough. Then Apple will prove them wrong on Monday. Distribution matters a lot more than photo ops.

Related:

Topics: Apple, Hardware, iPad, Mobility, Smartphones

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74 comments
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  • RE: Apple's iPad 2 launch: Here comes the obsession over long lines

    "Nevertheless, we?ll focus on the lines."

    Apple PR at its finest.
    The one and only, Cylon Centurion
    • RE: Apple's iPad 2 launch: Here comes the obsession over long lines

      @Cylon Yup, it's PR alright. You have to have a certain degree of education on the matter to be able to see through all the marketing tricks to resist these kinds of influences. Otherwise you're just another one of those born every minute.
      nicholas22
      • RE: Apple's iPad 2 launch: Here comes the obsession over long lines

        @nicholas22

        <i>Otherwise you're just another one of those born every minute.</i>

        And go on believing that MS is superior and hype free, and Apple never brings out anything that anyone actually wants.

        You are welcome to the circus - continue to live there.
        richardw66
    • RE: Apple's iPad 2 launch: Here comes the obsession over long lines

      @Cylon Centurion 0005

      But how will people know you have an iPad 2?

      Do you make sure you get the white one or do you wander around carrying that brick, so people can see it's marginally thinner? Still the same heavy mirror outside.

      Even an iPhone user with his rubber band and case has more functionality and it will even fit in your pocket.

      My advice, paint your original white and get the status without the price ;-)
      tonymcs@...
      • RE: Apple's iPad 2 launch: Here comes the obsession over long lines

        @tonymcs@...
        lol. for that you may be willing to buy the magnet cover too.
        gguybr
      • RE: Apple's iPad 2 launch: Here comes the obsession over long lines

        @tonymcs@...

        OK - so doubling the processor speed, the RAM and adding 2 cameras makes no difference?

        I won't be rushing out to update personally.

        The cameras will make a big difference to many apps though.

        The extra speed will change what is possible also.

        <i>My advice, paint your original white and get the status without the price</i>

        One of the things that I really like about my iPad is that when I am carrying it in a case it does not look like I am carrying a device at all. The case makes it look like a folder or diary.

        One thing I like about carrying an iPhone is that everyone around here has one - well almost everyone. This means I am not a target for theft, nor do I stand out.

        I did not buy either device for the look - but since I can be inconspicuous I feel more comfortable.

        No way would I consider painting my iPad to stand out or look special. I would like the extra features but I am not particularly bothered about the lack of them either.

        The iPhone 4 is more capable than the iPad in that you can make phone calls and send SMSes, and yes it is smaller than an iPad.

        In other respects such as the larger screen size the iPad is more capable. For instance using a spreadsheet on the iPhone would be much more difficult than an iPad.

        Why do you misrepresent the device as a status symbol?
        Do you still wish to live in the 80's where anyone with a cellphone was a yuppie?

        Clearly the world has realised that a mobile phone is a useful device. One day you will realise that many people much more far sighted than you have bought an iPad because it is useful and your narrow and short sighted bigotry is wasted.
        richardw66
      • RE: Apple's iPad 2 launch: Here comes the obsession over long lines

        @tonymcs@... Back to the old status symbol talking point are we? Have you guys run out of talking points since Apple keeps checking them off so this all you have to fall back on. Maybe someday you guys will grow up and realize that people buy items for different reason and your hatred doesn't change that.
        non-biased
    • RE: Apple's iPad 2 launch: Here comes the obsession over long lines

      @ all Applebites
      As usual, what a waste of money.
      I can't wait for the iturd to come out and see everyone wait in line for a piece of crap, literally.
      mikroland
      • Just a note here my friend...

        @mikroland
        Just because you can't see or understand the value in something does not mean it has no value. I can't understand why people pay for Picasso's work but I can not deny there people do and pay well for it. The list of things I see no value in that actually have value to others is limitless. I suspect the same is true of you. The difference between you and I is I admit it and you can't seem to come to terms with this fact of life:)

        Pagan jim
        James Quinn
      • RE: Apple's iPad 2 launch: Here comes the obsession over long lines

        @mikroland LOL, it really chaps your @$$ that Apple products do so well doesn't it :-)
        non-biased
    • RE: Apple's iPad 2 launch: Here comes the obsession over long lines

      the long wait has come to end!

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  • Mass Hysteria At Its Finest

    Why camp out in the first place? Have a good night's sleep and then in a few days you can buy it without any problem. I will NEVER EVER camp for anything, no matter what it is. I worked during Black Friday and thought all those that were camping have lost their wing nuts. But to each his/her own I suppose.
    statuskwo5
    • It looked like Verizon customer thought the same way

      @statuskwo5
      Really no lines at the stores for the release of the iPhone on Verizon.
      Can't see the big deal - you waited this long for it a couple of more days won't make any difference.
      Will Farrell
      • RE: Apple's iPad 2 launch: Here comes the obsession over long lines

        @Will Farrell True, it's not like it's going to be any less expensive if you wait a few days.
        statuskwo5
      • RE: Apple's iPad 2 launch: Here comes the obsession over long lines

        @Will Farrell - It is to Apple.
        ItsTheBottomLine
    • RE: Apple's iPad 2 launch: Here comes the obsession over long lines

      @statuskwo5 AMEN! Most asinine thing I have seen, and LMAO at them when I walk by... proof they have no life so standing or camping out in line is their entertainment - sooooo sad.
      ItsTheBottomLine
      • RE: Apple's iPad 2 launch: Here comes the obsession over long lines

        @ItsTheBottomLine

        People camp out for all sorts of things.

        Personally I don't like camping in any form.
        richardw66
      • RE: Apple's iPad 2 launch: Here comes the obsession over long lines

        @ItsTheBottomLine I certainly wouldn't camp out for some device that I can get a few days later but apparently enough people want the devices first day to do so. That really seems to both the haters.
        non-biased
  • Whaddaya know

    I just went by my local Apple store and saw Loverock Davidson camped out with a little tent and sleeping bag.
    Robert Hahn
    • RE: Apple's iPad 2 launch: Here comes the obsession over long lines

      @Robert Hahn Hahaha, funny. But seriously now, he is waiting for WP7 on Verizon. ;-)
      statuskwo5