So what makes an otherwise sane individual stand in line outside the Liverpool One Apple Store for 7 hours on a freezing March day? (Much to the amusement of the majority of the locals I might add 😉

The iPad 2 launch of course!

After the immensely successful launch in the US 2 weeks before the UK, where the iPad sold out within minutes of each store opening, and delivery dates for back orders slipping to the end of April, queuing was the only way to ensure I got my iPad 2 in anything like a timely manner.

The first brave souls in the queue arrived at 1am but I waited until a much more reasonable 10am to join them.

If you’ve never experienced an Apple product launch day then you’ve missed one of retail’s greatest experiences. Camaraderie builds quickly in sub-zero temperatures especially when all that stands between you losing your place in the queue, due to the need for a comfort break, is the good will of your fellow queuers.

One of the most heartening sights of the day was three businessmen having a meeting while one of them was in the queue. Sounds outlandish?

Believe me it was certainly possible and served to remind me of derision that greeted the first generation iPad when it was roundly dismissed as nothing more than a toy with capabilities to match and would never find a place in the corporate world. How times have changed!


Apple looked after us all as well as ever with free food and drinks from the local Pret and the queue quickly grew to a staggering length, forcing the Store staff to call for additional barriers to extend the official line.

There was plenty of time to keep updated on how launch day was going elsewhere, had excellent iPad 2 coverage including continually updating stock information and plenty of photos from those queuing across the country and internationally.

As well as meeting a whole range of new Apple users it was great to see Mark, a old friend from NWMUG, the local Mac Group, too. He took some stunning photos and these are on Flickr together with a whole range from other Apple events he’s attended over the years.

Anyway after much consideration and changing my mind several times I elected to go with a black 64Gb wifi and 3G with a red leather Smart Cover. Having acquired my golden ticket reserving the same at 13:30 the rest of the wait passed in the safe knowledge that I’d managed to secure the model I wanted.

A passing stag party was most bemused by the growing crowds, something I managed to capture on video as I attempted to preserve the extent of the queue for posterity!

Of course, as anyone who has followed the retail adventures of the MacBites Crew knows no purchase would be complete without a last minute drama and this time it was the inability of my Orange 3G sim to be recognised by the iPad 2. The Apple staff were great though and 4 iPads later confident the issue was with the sim they provided a replacement for use in new iPad while the first sim remained in my original iPad where it seemed much happier.

We then headed for Pret where in addition to the usual delights on offer we took the opportunity to rest tired legs and get acquainted with our new kit.

A fantastic if somewhat tiring day! As this candid shot, taken by Mike shows, someone was snoozing peacefully on the way home *coughs* 😉

An exhausting day!