It's iPad 2 Day: Rush or Bust?

By Tracey E. Schelmetic March 11, 2011

If you're the sort of person who can't sleep unless you have your mitts on the latest technology, then relief is here (at least for the next few weeks until the next big thing comes out).

Apple's iPad 2, the updated version of its popular tablet computer, will be available in stores in a matter of hours. Those who couldn't wait, though, were able to order one online before the sun rose, according to the Associated Press.

Apple opened online sales of the iPad 2 at 1 a.m. PST, hours before they will be available in stores nationwide at 5 p.m. PST (2 p.m. EST).

So are hardcore fans going to camp out in large numbers in front of Apple stores everywhere, their credit cards burning holes in their pockets? Nobody really knows yet. Though it happened last year with the launch of the first generation of iPads (when the original version of the iPad went on sale last year, Apple said it sold more than 300,000 in the first day), newer releases, such as the Verizon iPhone, which went on sale last month, have provoked more lukewarm reactions from consumers.

The new iPad model comes with several improvements over the original version but the same price tag — $499 to $829, depending on storage space and whether they can connect to the Internet over a cellular network — is hobbling efforts by rivals at breaking Apple's hold on the emerging market for tablet computers.

The iPad 2 looks much like the first iPad, only with a sleeker, lighter body with a curved back. Among changes is the inclusion of cameras, one on the front and one on the back.

In response to the pricing for the iPad2, Apple last week dropped the price of the original iPad by $100, offering customers who had bought one in previous weeks a rebate.

To help welcome the new iPad, Apple CEO-in-convalescence Steve Jobs emerged from medical leave earlier this month to unveil the new version to bloggers and Apple enthusiasts. Jobs, 56, announced in January that he would take a third leave of absence to focus on his health. In the last decade, he has survived a rare but curable form of pancreatic cancer and undergone a liver transplant.

After its U.S. launch Friday, the iPad 2 goes on sale March 25 in 26 other markets, including Mexico, New Zealand, Spain and other European countries.

Tracey Schelmetic is a contributing editor for TechZone360. To read more of Tracey's articles, please visit her columnist page.

Edited by Tammy Wolf

TechZone360 Contributor

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