Apple Launches iPad 2 in Canada! My Experience

Apple launched the iPad 2 on March 25th, 2011 in Canada as well as many other International locations.

As with all Apple launches, there was tremendous hype and expectation leading up to this event.  The iPad 2 went on sale at the Apple.ca website at 1:00am PDT, March 25th and was available in retail stores from 5:00pm local time.

I awoke the morning of March 25th and decided to check the status of the online store.  It was already reporting a 3-4 week lead time for shipping.  Seems that the allocation for online sales was already sold out!  I decided to place my order for a new iPad 2 / 3G model anyways and proceeded to begin my day.

After my work day was over, I decided to drive by the local mall (Richmond Centre) where one of three Apple stores was located in the lower mainland / Vancouver area.  My wife was with me and we were both somewhat surprised that the line did not seem to be that bad outside of the mall.  My wife turned to me and said, “Go ahead and get one if you want, but please just drop me off at home first”.  I took her home and turned back around to try my luck at getting the new device.

I arrived at Richmond Centre to a relatively modest line outside of the entrance doors.  Most of the people in this line were waiting for about an hour or so.  The mood was jovial and I started a conversation with a man and his young daughter.  Turns out that he was planning on buying two iPad 2’s, one for himself and one for his brother in Montreal, Quebec.

Representatives from the Apple store came outside and advised everyone in the line that there were no more white iPad 2’s and that all the 3G models were sold out.

I decided that regardless, I would stick in the line as I was really debating on whether or not I wanted a 3G model.  Prior to iOS 4.3, this was a significant issue as the iPad would not connect to the Internet unless it had 3G capability when outside of a Wireless LAN (Wi-Fi) zone.  With the new iPhone / iOS feature, Personal Hotspot, I could now use my iPhone as a shared 3G service connecting to my iPhone as a Wi-Fi access point. (note: I am editing this post at a local coffee shop while connected to my iPhone Personal hotspot).

The representatives from Apple asked everyone in line what model of iPad they wanted and proceeded to give each of us a coupon which guaranteed we would get the product – as long as we stayed in the line.

The outside line took another hour or so to move inside. I spoke to a number of people and even though there were signs that many of them were upgrading, most of the people indicated this was their first iPad. One woman standing in line with her daughters was completely new to Apple’s products and really loved the idea of the iPad to work on Excel spreadsheets.

I waited in total about 2 1/2 to 3 hours before finally being greeted with my own, personal Apple sales representative. He took my coupon and went into the back to retrieve my model. I also selected a leather smart cover to go with my selection. The whole purchase process took less than five minutes and I left the store, iPad in hand.

Using this new device really lives up to the hype. It is amazingly thin and feels very natural in my hand. It is noticeably lighter and the performance difference is significant. I have not yet tried any of the games that would show off the graphics performance but intend to do so in the next day or so. I also tried FaceTime, calling my wife on her iPhone 4. Video calling really stands out on this screen. While the camera resolution is not high, it is suitable for video calling.

In closing, Apple has really come out with a winner. This product has mass appeal and frankly out does the competition handily.  I also decided that I would cancel my online order as the Wi-Fi unit does everything I would want.

About Grant Fengstad

I’m a technology professional in the travel and transportation sector and have been very involved with the Internet for over 20 years.