International iPad sale attracts long lines, 'crazy' atmosphere

Apple fans the world over lined up to be among the first in their country to buy an iPad.

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    Willo and Keisha Van Kleef-Bolton, at the early opening of an Apple Store in London, where they purchased two of the first iPad tablets to go on sale in the UK.
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Worldwide Apple fans, your time has come. The iPad tablet computer finally ventured abroad Friday morning, going on sale in Apple stores around the globe.

A rush of early adopters led to long lines and busy credit cards in Frankfurt, London, Paris, and Tokyo. Reports describe "screams and cheers," an "onslaught of questions and flash photography," and the simple declaration from one journalist that "London’s Apple iPad launch was crazy."

That last descriptor comes from Wired.co.uk, which spotted a couple in full wedding attire. The groom bore a top hat and purple tie; bride sported a veil and pearl earrings; both smooched for the cameras and held up their matching his-and-hers iPads. "Obviously a giant PR stunt," Wired writes, "but they were sweet regardless."

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One line in Tokyo had already stretched further than the camera could see at 2 a.m., according to photos uploaded to the image-sharing site Flickr.

Let's not forget that these anxious shoppers chose to queue up instead of waiting for the postman from the comfort of their homes. Apple has offered international preorders since May 10. Then again, planning ahead didn't work for everyone: “I preordered one but then I got an e-mail saying it’s not going to be here till June," Renera Thompson tells Business Week from a 400-person line in Sydney. "So I decided I’ll keep the one I preordered and I’ll wait in line and get [my boyfriend] one.”

All this excitement bodes well for Apple. The company sold more than 1 million iPads to Americans in 28 days – a faster rate than the original iPhone enjoyed. Expect Steve Jobs to use the word "magical" in a press release very soon.

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