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Fans line up for new iPad

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) ― The updated version of Apple Inc.’s iPad tablet computer went on sale Friday afternoon, and was greeted by the now-familiar lines of buyers outside Apple stores.

The Cupertino company opened online sales of the iPad 2 at 4 a.m. Eastern time, well before they became available in East Coast stores at 5 p.m. They were set to go on sale nationwide at the same hour, local time.

Apple fans, as usual, were eager to get their hands on the device as they waited at the company’s Apple’s Fifth Avenue store in New York. The line of customers, including some who traveled from Japan and Russia, snaked through the street-level plaza above the subterranean store while bystanders gawked at the crowd.

Employees cheered from inside the store as iPad buyers entered. Alex Shumilov, a customer who traveled from Moscow to snag two iPads, emerged first, beaming while holding one tablet in each hand. The trendy device won’t go on sale outside the U.S. for another two weeks.

New iPad2 (AFP-Yonhap News)
New iPad2 (AFP-Yonhap News)

When the original version of the iPad debuted 11 months ago, Apple said it sold more than 300,000 in the first day. It ended up selling more than 15 million in the first nine months, including 7.3 million to holiday shoppers in the October-December quarter.

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. Analysts believe the improvement would make it more difficult for rivals to break 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 and a curved back. Among changes is the inclusion of cameras for videoconferencing, one on the front and one on the back.

With the original iPad, Apple proved there is a large market for a tablet that’s less than a laptop and more than a smart phone, yet performs many of the same tasks. Competitors including Dell Inc. and Samsung Electronics Co. have been trying to lure consumers with smaller tablets, without much success. In February, Motorola Mobility Inc.’s Xoom went on sale with a new version of Google Inc.’s Android software designed especially for tablets.

Underscoring the importance of the iPad to the world’s most valuable technology company, Apple CEO Steve Jobs emerged from a medical leave earlier this month to unveil the new version to bloggers and Apple enthusiasts. Jobs, 56, announced in January that he would take his third leave of absence in seven years to focus on his health. During that time, 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.


<관련 기사>

애플 아이패드2, 美서 첫 판매 개시

(샌프란시스코 AP=연합뉴스) 애플사가 11일 미국의 매장과 온라인 쇼핑몰에서 아이패드2의 판매를 시작했다.

아이패드2는 미국의 200여개의 애플 대리점을 비롯해 AT&T와 버라이즌 와이어리스, 베스트바이, 타깃, 월마트 등 통신사와 할인마트 등에서 이날부터 구입할 수 있다.

오프라인 판매에 앞서 애플사는 이날 오전부터 온라인 판매도 시작했다.

애플사는 지난해 태블릿PC의 선두주자인 아이패드를 출시하면서 첫날에만  30만대를, 첫주에 50만대를 각각 판매하고 28일만에 100만대를 돌파하는 등 선풍적인 인기를 끌었다.

애플사는 아이패드2가 크기를 줄이고 기능을 개선한데다 판매루트도 다양화했기 때문에 아이패드에서의 선풍적인 인기를 재현할 것으로 기대하고 있다.

아이패드2는 두께가 8.8㎜로 첫 아이패드보다 30% 이상 얇아졌고 아이폰4보다 얇다. 무게도 585g으로 90g이상 줄었으며 전후면 듀얼 카메라를 장착해 다른 태블릿 PC와 차별화를 꾀했다.

또 새로운 A5 듀얼코어 프로세서를 장착해 속도가 빨라지고 그래픽도 기존 모델보다 개선됐다. 시판가격은 기존 것과 같이 499∼829달러로 책정됐다.

아이패드2는 미국시장 판매를 시작으로 오는 25일께 최소 26개 국가에서 동시에 시판될 예정이다.

월스트리트의 분석가들은 아이패드2가 순조롭게 판매될 것으로 전망하지만 일각에서는 경쟁 제품이 쏟아지는 데다 기존 아이패드와의 획기적인 차별성은 적다는 점에서 큰 반향을 일으키지 못할 가능성도 점치고 있다.

이 제품은 지난 2일 신제품설명회에 무기한 병가중인 최고경영자(CEO) 스티브 잡스(56)가 깜짝 출연함으로써 화제가 되기도 했다.

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