Europe Almost Catches iPad Fever

After a couple of false starts, apparently caused by its popularity in the US, the Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL) iPad finally reached Europe today, with cities across the continent experiencing their own particular strains of iPad fever -- some more virulent than others. (See Photos: iPad Hits Europe, APAC, iPad Coming to 9 More Countries, and Apple Delays Global iPad Launch.)

The much sought-after device, which has launched in WiFi-only and WiFi-plus-3G versions, also debuted in a few Asia/Pacific markets today -- Japan and Australia -- as well as Canada.

In London, the BBC reported that the flagship Apple store on Regent Street opened at 8 a.m. sharp, by which time "hundreds" of early adopters had formed a queue. Jake Lee, the first in the queue, had been in the line since midday Thursday, and was followed shortly after by celebrity device addict Stephen Fry, who has developed his own iPad app, the FryPad, reports Sporkings.

Over in France the famous Gallic shrug was in evidence, with Parisians seemingly underwhelmed by the iPad’s arrival, according to Le Figaro.

Only around a dozen geeks (it's a French word now, you know) had bothered to camp out during the night to guarantee an early purchase. By the time the store had actually opened, however, a crowd of around 300 had deigned to gather.

Things were a bit lackluster in Spain as well, with the grand opening in Barcelona only attracting about “two dozen” people at one of the main iPad stockists there, if El Pais is to be believed.

There was more excitement in Germany, it seems, with a large crowd snaking around Munich’s Marienplatz, according to Suddeutsche Zeitung. The scenes, stated the on-the-spot reporter, were "almost tumultuous," which somehow doesn’t quite convince.

In normally peaceful Switzerland, things were also quite lively, iPad-wise, says a report in Le Matin.

One happy purchaser in Geneva offered up this soundbite: "True, the iPad is useless, but it is quite indispensable!" That's unlikely to be snapped up by Apple for any new promotional campaigns.

Back down near the Mediterranean, there was more drama from the Italians, as you might expect, with "disbelief and shaking hands at the time of the unboxing," according to Corriere Della Serra.

In Australia, it was the Apple staff who were the most excited, according to The Age, while about 1,200 people queued in Tokyo to snap up their coveted device, reports the Associated Press.

The iPad is set to face competition from a phalanx of “me too” rival products, but, for today at least, the iPad had them -- mostly -- queuing 'round the block. (See Gadget Watch: Others Eye iPad Success and Gadget Watch: Dell's New Streak.)

— Paul Rainford, freelance editor, special to Light Reading

tguch 12/5/2012 | 4:34:19 PM
re: Europe Almost Catches iPad Fever

I too gave the famous Gallic shrug... but by mid-afternoon on launch day I found myself on my iPhone, browsing the online iPad retailers here in Paris, and purchasing one. :)

digits 12/5/2012 | 4:34:18 PM
re: Europe Almost Catches iPad Fever

And how is it? Worth the euros?

tguch 12/5/2012 | 4:33:24 PM
re: Europe Almost Catches iPad Fever

The jury is still out as to whether or not it is worth the euros. As always with Apple, I am sure the v2 will be much improved, and of course, there are not a ton of apps yet. But using it has already got me thinking about how it could change the way users interact with content - ie. what I would like to be able to do with it. And for those of us working in telecoms, anything that adds hope and inspiration to our work, is worth it. :)

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