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Apple Store SF

I arrived at the Apple Store on Stockton Street in San Francisco around 7 a.m. Saturday, and the line was longer than I expected. Already leading nearly to the end of the block, the line was divided into two--one line for the preorders and one for on-site buyers.

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Blacked out windows

At the front of the line, Apple junkies waited in front of blacked out windows, waiting patiently for the iPad's 9 a.m. release.

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Coffee and doughnuts

Apple employees handed out free coffee and doughnuts to the patient line-waiters, some of whom had been there since Friday evening. It's urban camping at it's finest, with camp chairs, sleeping bags and makeshift tables set up among a sea of iPhones and MacBooks.

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iJustine

Video blogger iJustine live-streams from the iPad launch.

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Video the curtain drop

At the front of the line, video cameras were recording the action as the black curtain in the windows dropped around 8:30 a.m.

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Face off

Following a countdown from 30 at around 8:30 a.m., the black curtain dropped and the media in front of the store came face to face with the applause of 50 Apple Store employees.

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Watching

Some people came to wait in line, others came to cover the launch, and some just came to sit by and watch the scene.

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Advertising

The Apple launch events are always an advertising opportunity. This custom Segway, complete with live TV, was a big hit.

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Crowds

It's getting crowded at the front of the line, we're getting close now. It's 8:57 a.m.

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The line

By 9 a.m., the line had curled to the end of the block and around the corner, halfway down O'Farrell Street.

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Apple Store

Outside the Apple Store, moments before the 30-second countdown by the very enthusiastic Apple employees inside.

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Doors open

Finally the doors open, the applause from the Apple employees overflows into the street, as the media focuses cameras on the hype from within.

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Tent in hand

With his tent in hand, the first person in line prepares to enter the Apple Store on Stockton Street in San Francisco right around 9 a.m. Saturday.

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It's time

As the doors opened, Apple employees slowly escorted each person in, one by one, giving each person an individual round of applause.

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Rudy Turinay

Among the first purchasers was Rudy Turinay, who emerged with not one, but two iPads, and a big smile.

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Organized inside

Inside, the queue was fairly organized, as one by one fans filed in and up the stairs to make their iPad purchases.

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Credit card

A swipe of the credit card, and the purchase is made. Prices range from $499 to $829.

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Personalized service

Apple employees escorted each person who waited in line into the store personally, giving each a round of applause.

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Exit applause

Applause coming in and applause coming out with newly purchased iPads.

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First looks

Upstairs, you could get a hands-on look at the new tablet.

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Perusing the iPad

Perusing the iPad, up close and personal.

Correction at 4:40 p.m.: This image had incorrectly identified one of the men as an Apple executive.

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After purchase

After purchasing the new iPad, Apple employees helped set up the devices and gave short introductions to the App Store, which already has more than 1,000 new Apps design specifically for the iPad.

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New users

After an almost immediate set-up, customers were already sending e-mails and tweets from their new devices.

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Dom Sagolla

Dom Sagolla, co-creator of Twitter and author of "140 Characters," tweets a self-portrait of himself and his new iPad.

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Stack of iPads

iPads are piled up in the Apple Store, waiting to be purchased by the hundreds waiting in line outside.

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Andrew Mager

ZDNet blogger Andrew Mager shows off his new iPad at the Apple Store in San Francisco.

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Palo Alto Apple Store shoppers line up

Palo Alto Apple Store shoppers line up to get their iPads. The first folks in line camped out overnight in what was an unusually cold, but dry spring day.

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Apple's Scott Forstall makes guest appearance

Apple's senior vice president of iPhone software, Scott Forstall, makes a guest appearance before the store opens. He snapped some photos of the crowd and chatted with Apple employees before heading inside to watch.

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First in line

Tech blogger Robert Scoble emerges with one of his two iPads. Scoble showed up at the store on Friday and stayed there overnight.

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Smule demos 'Magic Piano' to line-goers

Smule's "mule" gives those in line a chance to play with the iPad, and with the developer's new Magic Piano app.

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Doctors without iPads

E.R. doctor Kathy Corby shows us one of several pages of the medical apps she has installed on her iPhone. She plans to use her new iPad to access them as well.

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Lots of stock

An Apple Store "genius" stands in front of a wall full of iPads at the Palo Alto Apple Store.

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Opening one up

Ganesh Kaveripakkam has his shiny new iPad opened up by a Palo Alto Apple Store employee. While users could buy their iPad and keep it wrapped up, Apple was offering to help users boot it up and get going.

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Best Buy in Daly City, Calif.

The iPad display at the Best Buy in Daly City, Calif., had a lot of onlookers, but the store still had nine in stock as of 11:30 a.m. PDT, including at least one in each capacity.

Here, the Lopez family of South San Francisco checks out the iPad.

"It's nice. The price is good," Gonzalo Lopez said while checking out a car racing game.

Still, he wasn't yet sure if he would buy one. He already has an iPod Touch.

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Best Buy near Columbus Circle, NYC

On the other side of the country, interest varied as well. The flagship Apple store on Fifth Avenue had hundreds in line.

By contrast, at 9:55 a.m. EDT Saturday--10 minutes before the store opened--only a handful of people were lined up at the Best Buy store near Columbus Circle in New York City.

Jason Haber, 33, first in line at this store, lives only a few blocks from the Best Buy on West 62nd Street and Broadway. He said he came to the Best Buy store at 8 a.m. to find no line.

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Best Buy near Columbus Circle, NYC

Inside the Best Buy store near Columbus Circle in New York City Saturday morning, customers played with the new iPad in the Mac section of the store.

Some shoppers said they were just looking and would wait for the second-generation devices to be released. The store manager said the store had plenty of iPads in stock. She doesn't expect the store to run out of the first shipment until at least the end of the day. She also said she expects the store to remain well stocked throughout the coming weeks, which means anyone wanting an iPad won't walk away empty-handed.

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Outside Apple store on Upper West Side, NYC

By 6:30 a.m. EDT, Drew Niehaus saw customers lined up around the block at Apple's Upper West Side store in Manhattan.

Niehaus, 29, said he waited till 8 a.m. and then headed to the Best Buy story near Columbus Circle and became second in line there.

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Apple store Upper West Side, NYC

The Apple store on the Upper West Side of Manhattan was packed Saturday morning as eager consumers played with the iPad.

At 10:30 a.m. EDT, Apple representatives said the store still had plenty of iPads in stock.

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