iPad 2 launch attracts thousands in New York City

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Well, no one can doubt Apple’s genius today. Instead of launching the iPad 2 at midnight or early in the morning, Steve Jobs and Co. chose to launch its new flagship tablet at 5 p.m. on a Friday, allowing almost anyone the opportunity to hop in line around the country, or just crowd in to see what the fuss is about.

I stopped by the Apple Retail Store on 5th Avenue in New York City around 4:30 p.m. EST to see this crowd, which kept swelling to eventually fill the entire city block by 5:30 p.m. Traffic cops were on site to keep traffic moving and hundreds of onlookers were snapping pictures of the masses, often on smartphones and tablets. I’ve heard reports that similar crowds gathered in other NY area stores.

Below are a few images I took on my Motorola Droid. Please note that I am not a professional photographer by any stretch. Captions are included!

Apple employees getting pumped

Before they began letting in the roped off crowd, what appeared to be around a hundred Apple employees got a rousing pep talk and began clapping their hands. Their enthusiasm appeared genuine from my distance. The security guard on the left did not partake in the festivities.

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Here’s another shot of employees. Inside the store, there were dozens of iPad 2s displayed for use. The slogan on the wall read “Thinner. Lighter. Faster. Facetime. Smartcovers. 10 hour battery life.” The slogan says it all.

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The washed masses wait for their multiple iPad 2s

Our own Nick Mokey described it best when he told me that the oddest thing about big lineups and product launches is that it rewards those who have the least to do. The crowd today was relaxed, orderly, and in no hurry. Rarely have I seen such a happy and excited group of individuals.

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Everyone bought 2 iPad 2s

Apple allowed everyone in line to buy two iPad 2s. Shockingly, most of them did. There are reports that many people at today’s launch intend to resell their new tablets online. I can believe it. As the first die hard iPad 2 owners left the store, they raised their iPad boxes above their heads to a roar of applause from the entire crowd and a sea of congratulations and clapping from Apple employees. At times, the launch felt like cheerleading practice. It was hard not to get swept in the excitement. After a decade of high profile launches, Apple has definitely perfected the art of hype.

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More and more people

Well, as aerial as I could get. I climbed on the fountain across the street to take this beauty. This was shot about 20 minutes after Apple began handing out iPads. The crazy thing is that because of the poor design of the building, which has only one dual entrance and exit, employees only let in bursts of people. However, this deficiency in building design only lead to more excitement. As individuals left with their new tablets, the entire crowd applauded them like rock stars, as did the employees, who just kept clapping. The crowd continued to grow even as the line shortened. Mark the iPad 2 launch as a success for Apple.

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