Montrealers line up for iPad launch day

A lineup of Montrealers snaked around the corner of Crescent and Ste. Catherine Sts. from the downtown Apple store Friday morning, as gadget fans awaited the new iPad’s release in Canada.

Graphic artist Steve Bédard had been waiting since 5 a.m. for the iPad, which he says he will use for sketching, instead of having to lug his backpack full of drawing pads around.

"It’s been a long time that I’ve been waiting for this," said Bédard, who bought the Wifi and 3G model.

The iPad is a touch-sensitive tablet that allows users to access the Internet, read an electronic book, buy music from the iTunes store and play video games. It’s been out in the United States since April and was also launched Friday to crowds of Apple fans in Europe, Asia and Australia.

In Canada, the iPad ranges in price from $549 for a 16-GB Wifi model to $879 for a 64-GB Wifi and 3G model.

Hichem Zidi, a Montrealer of Tunisian origin bought the iPad Friday, partly out of curiosity and partly for business purposes. The computer consultant is considering selling the 64-GB Wifi and 3G model he purchased for $880 for a profit while on vacation in France next week.

Unlike some of the Apple junkies who lined up as early as 4 a.m. outside the store, Zidi arrived around 11 a.m. and waited about 20 minutes to buy the iPad.

"I said if there’s a lineup, forget it."

Workers at the Apple store fueled the hype, handing out bottles of water and coupons to customers as they left the Ste. Catherine St. boutique

Indeed, Concordia University marketing professor Robert Soroka said he’s heard lots about the iPad but couldn’t say much about the actual product.

"The unfortunate thing is that I don’t know," he acknowledged. "I haven’t tried the product. I know the marketing is good."

Other Montrealers weren’t impressed enough with the hype to buy the iPad.

Paul Biron tested the iPad with his girlfriend Bonnie Jean but decided he’d rather save his money to buy a Mac laptop.

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