Apple enthusiasts flock to St. Louis Galleria for iPad 2
This photo shows a white iPad 2 at the St. Louis Galleria on the first day of its release. Pricing for the iPad 2 starts at $499. (March 11, 2011) By KMOV Web Producer
An Apple store employee rings up two new iPad 2s for Shaun Hautly, the first customer to buy an iPad 2 on the day of its release at the St. Louis Galleria (March 11, 2011). By KMOV Web Producer
Levi Baughter, 11 months, peers through the glass into the Apple store on the day of the iPad 2 release at the St. Louis Galleria (March 11, 2011). By KMOV Web Producer
Hongye Sun, 21, sits in line for the Apple iPad 2 with his laptop at the St. Louis Galleria. The iPad 2 was released on March 11, 2011. By KMOV Web Producer
Shaun Hautly, the first customer in line for the Apple iPad 2 at the St. Louis Galleria, stands in line on March 11, 2011. By KMOV Web Producer
ST. LOUIS (KMOV) – He waited 11 hours in line to spend $898.74 in just two minutes.
Shaun Hautly, 26, was number one out of more than 300 eager, excited and enthused customers in line to buy the Apple iPad 2 at the St. Louis Galleria on Friday. He arrived at the mall and became official line leader around 6 a.m.
“I can tell you this now: It’s gonna be awesome,” says Hautly of the iPad 2.
Throughout the course of the day Hautly made several “iFriends,” a phrase Apple enthusiast Darrell Alexander jokingly coined to describe the experience of waiting in line with strangers who became friendly with one another by the end of the day.
“Darrell brought in a handful of chairs, and we’ve all been taking turns going to the bathroom and getting food,” says Hautly.
Eleven hours later at 5 p.m. on the dot, a crew of Apple employees took down the black curtains that veiled the inside of the store from the long winding line of fans and passersby. The downed draping revealed a mass of identically dressed staff who erupted with applause as they stood throughout the store, ready for the gush of iPad 2 fans who would soon flood the premises.
Hautly’s patience soon paid off. Two Apple workers promptly came out, congratulated Hautly, and escorted him into the store. Within a minute, he’d already snagged black 64 gig iPad 2 with Wi-Fi and 3g and another iPad 2 he says was a surprise for St. Louis icon Ted Drewes, Hautly’s best friend’s grandfather.
By 5:02 p.m., Hautly was handing over his credit card to pay for the iPad 2. He says he previously owned the original iPad, which he used for his business, Boom Reactive, a St. Louis-based social media and Web video company.
“We do a lot of photography, and on the iPad, I can view all of our work and show it to people and do presentations,” he says. “I use it for business a lot.”
So does Robin Jackson, another fan who waited in line for the second generation iPad on Friday. Jackson runs her own jewelry company, Robin Weng Designs, and uses her iPad to showcase her products to potential customers. “The iPad shows a much bigger picture than what you can see on my iPhone,” she says. “I do private parties in people’s homes, so I can use this and set it up on the table and have it as a slideshow of my work.”
But on Friday, Jackson wasn’t waiting in line for herself, but rather for her 12-year-old daughter who was elsewhere in the mall with her friends. “I don’t mind,” says Jackson. “She’s paying for it with her own money, so I don’t mind waiting,” Jackson said as she sat Indian style on the floor with her own iPad nestled in her lap.
Both Jackson and Hautly use iPad as a way of increased business productivity, and while critics once chortled at the original iPad for being what they believed to be nothing more than a giant iPod touch, consumers, experts and business professionals are trending towards a different picture.
According to a study released in March by the Harvey Nash Group, a London-based recruitment consultancy and IT provider, more than 91 percent of tablet users surveyed believed that the product increased their productivity. Additionally, 63 percent of executives said they used their tablet for business presentations, and more than half of tablet users said they took meeting notes on their device.
Looks like Hautly, Jackson and Apple are on to a movement that just keeps on #winning.
The iPad 2 is now on sale in Apple stores worldwide and on www.apple.com. Pricing starts at $499. Emerald Morrow is a writer and Web producer at KMOV-TV. You can contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.