Apple iPad 2 launch: ‘The cachet of being one of the fanboys’

So who was in line for the iPad 2 yesterday afternoon? And why were they willing to spend hours of their lives — not to mention hundreds of their dollars — to get their hands on the thing? Team GeekWire was at the Apple Store at Seattle’s University Village yesterday afternoon getting the answers.

As anyone who has waited in line before knows, it’s as much a social and cultural experience as anything else — providing a chance to connect with like-minded geeks. And say what you will about their priorities, but it looks like all that waiting paid off for these people. As of this morning, the store is completely sold out.

Chances are also slim of getting iPad 2s at other stores for the time being. One of our spies tells us there were 60 people in line at Best Buy in Northgate yesterday afternoon; and seven people in line at Target, where they had only five iPad 2s to sell.

At the Apple store, we’ve already introduced you to the guy who spent 21 hours at the front of the line. Continue reading to meet some of the other characters from the crowd.

Chelsey Hulsey; Arrival time: 8 a.m.

Why wait in line? “I specifically didn’t buy iPad 1 because I knew iPad 2 would be better. And I’ve never stood in line for anything before, and I was like: ‘Hey, I want to stand in line for this.’ I’ve kept up with the Apple products for the past five years — I watch all of the keynotes. And I said: ‘You know what? This one, is the one.’ ”

Key Features? “I definitely like the 10-hour battery life, the camera in HD is going to be killer. I’m not much of a gamer, but my boyfriend is so he will get a real kick out of the graphics. I am an app person, so I will be playing solitaire all day.”

Russ Hare: Arrival time: 1 p.m.

Why wait in line? “There’s a certain cachet that comes with being one of the fanboys. It is a lot less if you waited in line at Wal-Mart to get one of these. You want to be here at the Apple store where it’s all happening. They give you free blankets, free coffee, so that’s part of the intrigue of the whole thing. … I just retired out of supporting Microsoft products and I’ve thrown myself totally into the arms of Apple. I now have one of everything in the store. I spent 20 miserable years supporting Microsoft products, now I am free. Free at last. Free at last.”

What he’s looking forward to: “Mainly that I can dump the iPad 1 off on my wife, and get her off her iPhone. She does all of her stuff, email and things, so I am kind of doing this for her. But it is the pride of always having the latest and greatest from Apple, that’s part of their marketing. That’s what we all line up for.”

Scott Dilley: Arrival time: 7 a.m.

Why wait in line? “My first-generation iPad is my laptop replacement. I use it four or five hours a day, so I want the latest one and my wife will get the older one. I decided it’d be better just get it the day of, instead of trying to buy it online and who knows when they will ship it out. It is always fun to come down here and wait in line, as long as you don’t have to do it overnight. … Otherwise, I’d just be sitting at home watching a movie. Now I get to go out and socialize, and this isn’t that much different than sitting at home.”

Key features? “Mainly the new form factor, the thinner and newer edge and the lighter weight. That’s the big thing I am really happy about. Some of the other stuff like the cameras, I don’t really think I will use that much. The faster speed is nice, but the new form factor will be great. Much more comfortable to hold.”

Steve Milton; Arrival time: 8 a.m.

Why wait in line? “Mainly because we wanted to get it this weekend, and use it this weekend, learning the most about it before it’s basically someone else’s information, second- and third-hand. I hate crowds, and I hate lines, but when you come and you bring a chair and you’re hanging out in the low density part of the line, it doesn’t feel like either. If you want to get it, don’t wait until after the crowds have already built.”

Key features? “Speed, faster graphics processing — those are the main ones for me.”

Julie Henningsgaard; Arrival time: 8 a.m.

Why what in line? “Because I want it today. That’s the best answer I’ve got. I want it now…. I waited in line for the first (iPad), so I am kind of a serial crazy. … It is a good atmosphere, cool people here. You know, you want what you want when you want it. And I happened to have the day off. … It is exciting to get the new technology, good attitude in the store, it is fun, so why not?”

Key features? “I like that it is lighter. I like the cameras. I like the new covers, and I know that is pretty lame, but that is a big seller for me. And it is going to be faster.”

Phil Clay: Arrival time: Noon

Why wait in line? “I am an early adopter. I bought the first iPad when it came out too. And traditionally since the iPhone came out, I’ve been standing in line waiting for new stuff to come out. Every single one since the iPhone. I’ve bought one every year, so this is my fifth or sixth (time) waiting in line. This one is pretty nice. I didn’t have to get up at 2 a.m. It is pretty warm. They passed out blankets, and coffee and umbrellas.”

Key features? “The speed improvements, and I like the design, the curvature of the case is a lot better. And then, mostly I like just having something new. I am going to have it before everyone else, so that is pretty cool.”

Kevin Barmish (with Banjo)

Why wait in line? “To have the latest and greatest gadget. I’ll be honest, I am disappointed with the specs, but I am still here anyway. I was hoping for a retina display, but I’ll sell it and get the next one when it comes out.”

  • Pete

    The Microsoft guy is a hoot!

    • johnhcook

      It is kind of rare to hear someone quoting MLK Jr. in the context of tech gadgets.

      Russ Hare was what we call in the journalism business: a good interview. :) Todd and I were having a hard time keeping our composure during that one.

      • Anonymous

        At one point, I remember you saying to him, “Boy, I’m glad we picked you!”

        • http://www.facebook.com/keithcu Keith Curtis

          Note: a Mac is 50% free software — and those are the best parts. So he isn’t totally free yet.

        • http://www.facebook.com/keithcu Keith Curtis

          Note: a Mac is 50% free software — and those are the best parts. So he isn’t totally free yet.