Easter faithful queue for iPad

A handful of people braved the cold to be the first to get their hands on the iPad.

The night before Apple's big iPad launch, the line of eager purchasers staying up all night to get their hands on the new tablet barely stretched past the corner of the flagship Apple Store on University Avenue on Palo Alto.

The buyers sitting in garden chairs and standing around chatting were almost outnumbered by the journalists from the evening news interviewing them. Indeed, when the three news vans pulled away after doing their outside broadcast spots for the evening news, the crowd thinned out.

Around 11.30pm an Apple Store employee brought out metal poles and ropes to mark out the queue area, although the awning sheltering the first few people in the queue stretched further on to the pavement. A pup tent labelled iCamp' was pitched just around the corner. The weather in Silicon Valley has been unseasonably cold and wet this week and many of those waiting were bundled up in warm coats.

Asked if they were put off by the prospect of showers, one dedicated queuer promised "we can stick it out".

Passers-by were bemused by the small crowd gathering. One of them asked IT PRO what was going on and, when we explained, she responded with a derisory noise.

The Apple Store was lit, with black curtains hiding whatever preparations were taking place. Just before 2.00am one of these was pulled back to reveal a large iPad banner. The upper window was already festooned with icon-like banners for various iPad apps (including Sky Sports) and an Apple Store employee spent some time at the top of a ladder adjusting the banners and the lights above them.

One local - who wasn't queuing up to buy an iPad - joked that "he keeps clicking them and clicking them but they just won't launch".

Want to see the excitement of the iPad launch build up in pictures? Click here or on the gallery above.

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