I'm down at the new Bondi Junction Apple Store for this morning's grand opening/iPad launch. And despite the fact the store was little more than a gaping hole yesterday, this morning it's all shiny silver, pretty glass and a big glowing Apple. Oh, and a queue of people wanting iPads (or free Tshirts, maybe)
There's at least 100 people here in line – not quite the same at the Sydney Store launch a couple of years ago, but not bad for a store we only really knew about the other day...
7:50: Ten minutes to launch. The staff have been cheering and clapping for about 10 minutes now. All that's missing is a golden statue of the Apple CEO to complete the cult image...
8:10: The store is open. It's shiny, like a big MacBook Pro. It's also loud - the staff are chanting everytime someone orders an iPad (which happens quite often, unsurprisingly), and the echo is huge.
The back of the store has four trees growing up from the ground, with a glass roof above to let the sunlight in. The trees are surrounded by screens on each wall - they all look to be at least 60 inch in diagonal, probably more like 65 inches.
A few people just ran past with Optus and Three (and probably Voda and Telstra, but I didn't see them) MicroSIMs. Looks like the 3G iPads seem to be popular.
8:15: Still lots of shouting, but now the staff are starting to show people how to use their iPads. There's a bit of a camera frenzy around the guy who was first to buy the iPad.
8:30: They still haven't run out of iPads. They just keep running them out from the back, six at a time. I've seen at least a dozen sixpack runners in the past half hour, and probably missed twice as many. No matter the pre-order delays, they've certainly catered for the launch purchases...
9:25: Okay, back in the office after the madness. When I left at about 8:45, the cheering had died down somewhat, the queue had all but disappeared, but there were still a lot of people in the store buying things.
It's a crazy thing, watching Apple open a new store. But something that all geeks should experience at least once in their life, whether they like Apple or not.