The tech tales started last week. Die-hard Mac fans camping out at stores across the United States, anxious to get their hands on the new iPad. Yes, that revolutionary device that looks like a giant iPhone but promises to be a "truly magical product" for reading, surfing, and playing. As I planned a trip to Chicago to speak at an event, I decided to leave Toronto a couple of days early to take part in the Apple launch day chaos on April 3rd.
When I arrived in the Windy City just past noon on Saturday, I checked into my hotel and quickly jumped online to search for the closest Apple store. Forty five minutes later I was strolling down Michigan Avenue, dragging my fiancé (along with his camera skills) and one-year-old son with me, hoping we could all sneak a peek and snap some shots of Steve Jobs' new baby.
Within blocks of the Apple store, I saw a dozen people standing on the sidewalk, looking as though they were waiting for something revolutionary to happen. Disappointed that there were no tents loaded with urban hipsters camping out, I ducked inside out of the rain to see what the lack of chaos was all about.
While there were crowds 10 people deep huddled in one corner of the store where the new tablet nestled into its home, the scene was relatively calm. After a few minutes of walking around I encountered an Apple sales person, dressed neatly in an iPad t-shirt, and asked him how many weeks it would take me to score the shiny new product. His reply? "I can get you one right now."
Although I would like to think I was given special treatment, being that Mac is in my last name and all, it quickly became apparent that iPad day was not quite as big as we all thought it would be. When the new device was announced earlier this year, I promised myself that I would not buy another first generation Apple product (firmly believing that all things Apple were much better second time around). However, knowing that my brother Jeff couldn't wait for the iPad's launch three weeks later in Canada, I snapped one up to take home to him.
Now here I am sitting in my hotel room with Jeff's new toy staring at me from its perfect white box. As much as I want to wait until Apple adds a built-in web cam, among other features that are readily available on most laptops, I am minutes away from busting open the iPad for a test drive. All this proves to me is that even without the long lines of urban hipsters busting down Apple's door for the latest new thing, this magical product is calling my name and dragging me into the cult of Mac, seducing me with its promises of long battery life and a sexy price tag just shy of five hundred dollars.