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Apple employees just as excited about iPad launch

Apple store employees are just as keen as users to get their hands on an iPad.

"We were told to stay overnight to guard them, to make sure nobody broke in and got to them. It was all a bit insane, but it wasn't really surprising at the time," he said. "It did put me off a little, but then you would read about something being leaked and you realise why they did it."

Retail employees are in many ways the public face of Apple, charged with spreading the gospel about the company's products to tens of millions of shoppers every year. Store staff, including part-time workers, have to sign nondisclosure agreements and can be fired for talking to outsiders.

They are paid around $10 an hour for entry-level work to over $30 a hour for those who staff the "Genius Bars" where customers come looking for help.

Tech savviness is not necessarily the top priority when it comes to hiring, according to the former assistant manager. He said there was a running joke about "Gapple" because his store often mined The Gap casual wear retail chain for potential employees.

"We looked for people who were passionate about Apple, people who would be comfortable selling the product," he said.

Employees get a 25 per cent discount on iPods and Macs, but none for the iPhone. Employees said they have not yet been told whether they will get a discount for the iPad.

One of the former employees said Apple stores were a fun, upbeat place to work, despite the strictness over secrecy.

"I understand why they do it. They give you just a little bit of a peek, just to tease you," he said. "It drives people crazy but at the same time it generates all this interest. It's human nature."

Read on for everything you need to know about the Apple iPad.

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