The Wait Is Over: Apple iPad Hits Store Shelves

By Jessica Greene
|  Saturday, Apr 3, 2010  |  Updated 4:41 PM PDT
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Photos: Jobs Introduces Apple's iPhone 4

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Apple customer Andres Schobel holds up his two new iPads at an Apple store April 3, 2010 in San Francisco, California. Hundreds of people lined up hours before the Apple store opened to purchase the new iPad which debuted today. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

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It started as a rumor, moved to a big stage and show, and finally landed in stores Saturday morning. Apple's iPad is officially on the shelves and in hot hands of early-adopters everywhere.

Techies who didn't want to wait for their pre-ordered iPad to come in the mail waited overnight in front of Apple stores across the country.

Robert Scoble drove from Half Moon Bay to Palo Alto to be first in line for his iPad.

Standing in line overnight and sleeping in tents for gadgets is a given for die-hard techies like Scoble, especially for something like the iPad. It's well worth it for gadget they say that will front as a book, a newspaper, a game board, even a movie screen.

As if it wasn't exciting enough to be among the first to own one of the hottest toys on the tech market, shoppers in the Palo Alto were given another treat in the form of a surprise customer: Apple CEO Steve Jobs. Sometime around noon, Jobs showed up and browsed through the store.

Twitter user Pavan as @fourthwall posted photos on Twitpic of Jobs with the caption, "Epic. Steve Jobs is here."

To pass the time, those in wait  whipped out their iPhones (of course) and laptops. Someone even brought a generator to the waitfest. Now, that's dedication.

But not everyone buys into the iPad hype.

Apple will need to convince people who may already have smart phones, laptops, set-top boxes and home broadband connections to buy yet another Internet-capable device with many of the same functions.

And while early adopters who pre-ordered an iPad in recent weeks gush about all the ways they hope to use the iPad -- casual Web searches on the couch, sharing photo albums with friends, reading books -- skeptics point to all the ways the iPad comes up short.

They argue the on-screen keyboard is hard to use and complain that it lacks a camera and ports for media storage cards and USB devices such as printers.

They also bemoan the fact that the iPad can't play Flash video, which means many Web sites with embedded video clips will look broken to surfers using Apple's Safari browser. And the iPad can't run more than one program at a time, which even fans hope will change one day soon.

"It is a device that's going to be easily accepted 'cause of the hype and the name brand that's there." Rey Flores said from his iPad-in-waiting post outside the the Palo Alto store. "So there's always going to be new ideas that are going to stem from them. "

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