We just landed at Apple's 5th avenue flagship, "The Cube," and it's... a little bare. We count less than 15 people in line at this point (still headed by the inimitable Greg Packer), and most of them actually have pre-orders. Despite the minimal line situation, Apple has a huge section of The Cube's plaza cordoned off to make room for more, and the NYPD is here with barriers galore, ready to lay down the law. We're told the lines will be split between pre-orderers and non-pre-orderers at 6:30PM, at which point the scene will look truly pitiful. Presumably the crowd will grow later tonight and swell early next morning, as those pre-orderers with nothing to worry about shuffle in, breakfast in their bellies. Or maybe everyone just went to the beach for the weekend.
Have you spotted a line in your city? Send us a tip! Not planning on braving the beautiful spring weather for a shot at this revolutionary / magical device? Make sure to check out Josh's iPad-equipped Jimmy Fallon appearance later tonight.
Update: News is filtering in from all over -- check it after the break, and make sure to send in what you're seeing, wherever you are!
Update 2: The line at The Cube is moving! Check out the update after the break.
Update 3: We're Ustreaming live from NYC's Cube store. Check it after the break!
8.43AM EST - With 15 minutes to go everybody's standing up and super chatty. A friend in line managed to nab this picture of the iPads through the glass of the cube [Thanks, Handras].
The Cube, 8:15AM EST: We're so close! Blue-shirted Apple employees are making their way through the pre-orderers line, "checking in" line sitters with some custom iPhone app. Word is there are around 400 or so people here, but we're a little surrounded and bad at counting.
The Cube, 6:45AM EST: After a rather boring night, where the two lines (pre-orders and non) grew to about 50 or so total, things started getting exciting around 5AM. News crews descended for their morning broadcasts, and the ranks began to swell. By 6:15 or so the non-pre-orderers were moved from the zoo-on-the-sidewalk setup they enjoyed overnight and onto the cushy plaza platform that the pre-orderers lounged in all night. The chilly group has swelled to around 150 or 200 folks, now in position for the 9AM opening. In typical Apple style, there are still no specific instructions about how this will all go down, outside of the doors opening at 9AM, and we're very curious how Apple is going to balance between the non-pre types like Greg Packer (who is well, and is tracking down any journalist or camera in sight), and the smooth, calculating pre-order crew.
Charleston store, 8.24AM EST - Time for a whirlwind tour of the nation and its queuer numbers. Chris O'Connor is reporting 40+ Apple acolytes queued up in the Charleston store's non-reserved line and a dozen in the pre-orderers' queue. Below his picture, we have an image from Shadyside, PA, contributed by Scott Marnik, who's noted 30 people in line with a "quite shocking" diversity in age, profession and background. About 50 people can be found waiting in Louisville, KY, according to Addison Ryan, while John Trussell is reporting a humbler collection of 40 over at the Promenade Apple Store in Marlton, NJ. Michael Schwabe sees less than 20 anticipating souls in front of Cleveland's Apple Store, while Josh Goodman and Tym Phillips report about 25 people at their respective Stores in Austin, TX, and Oklahoma City.
Waco Best Buy, 3.52AM CST - Reader Jay McNulty forwards the below picture with the comment, "only four of us here so far, but we are good to go!" These people are clearly in desperate need of an iPad, just look at all the stuff they have to carry around to keep themselves entertained.
Chicago flagship store, 10:15PM CST: Not a ton of activity in the Chi, but there are about 10-15 people in line around back of the Apple Store on Michigan Avenue, and this charming young lass who's set up a lawn chair right in front -- with her dog.
8:04AM CST: Clearly folks have awoken. Things are considerably more raucous here at the Chi-town flagship with just moment to go before the iPad goes on sale here, though we did see that an Apple Specialist store had precisely no one waiting if you'd rather give that a shot. Oh, and the downtown Best Buy? They're still "awaiting shipment," so it looks like you'll want to pass right on by if nabbing an iPad this morning is your primary goal.
San Jose Valley Fair store, 9:18PM PST: Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak is greeting a throng of guests at the Valley Fair mall in his hometown, few of whom plan to wait in line for an iPad. In fact, there are only five in all committed to stay overnight after this indoor mall closes -- but this year, Woz counts himself among their number. He's #4, after husband-and-wife tech junkies Jason and Annette Slack-Moehrle, who now sport a Woz-signed MacBook; Parth Dhebar, who runs an app review website; and before James Stout, a businessman who sells gadgets for a living. All plan to spend the entire night here with food and folding camp chairs in the hopes of getting an iPad tomorrow morning (the Apple store manager told us for these five, it wouldn't be an issue) and all seem happy to do so. We've now also got an image of reader Wayne Boissicat's newly Woz-engraved MacBook Pro below, scroll down for the awesomeness.
San Antonio North Star Apple Store, 8:09AM CST: Around 50 here and growing, only a few without reservations. Thanks, Robert!
9:09AM CT: "Just dropped the curtains!"
Apple Store, Bridgewater NJ, 9:05AM ET: "Not a huge crowd, but excited." Thanks, Darren! And nice shot!
West Hartford, CT Apple Store, 9:12AM ET: A decent line. Some confused people wondering where they are. Nine aliens. Five jetpacks. Is that Colin Cowherd? Thanks, Mr. A!
Apple Store St. Louis Galleria, 8:33AM CT: "We've been divided into reserve and non-reserve lines here." Thanks, Leo! Oh, and watch out for that one dude over there -- looks like he hasn't had his daily fourth meal.
Apple Store Rockingham Park in Salem NH, 8:52AM ET: "Around 200 people out here, more over there in the reserved line." Thanks, Paul! And make sure to brag to everyone in the surrounding states that you don't have to pay sales tax on your iPad. Live Free or Die, ain't that right? Right.
Apple Store Oxmoor, Louisville KY, 8:39AM ET: "Around 80 people waiting in my old Kentucky homeland." Thanks, Jason! Please tell us you're still drinking sweet tea, wherever your "new home" is...
Best Buy in Lincoln, NE, around 7:00AM CT: Just chillin', thinking about how awesome it is to be on Spring Break. Man, Cornhusker football better pick up this year. Thanks, Ryan!
Apple Store Manhattan Village, Manhattan Beach CA, 6:53AM PT: "Got here about 6AM with 15 people, now it's 6:53AM with about 50 people. Doors open at 9AM, line splits in two with pre-orders and non-pre-orders." Thanks, Kamran!
7:00AM PT: "Apple Store has a big black cloth hanging in front of it. Have about 100 people now, everyone in line got free coffee from coffee bean."
Apple Store South Coast Plaza, Costa Mesa CA, 7:58AM PT: "This is a shot outside Apple Store in South Coast Plaza, California. This is the purchase line. They say they only have enough for reservations. However , they may have 64GB for non-reservation. They also say there are more iPads on the way today, but not by 9AM nor 10AM." Thanks, honlunlau!
8:03AM PT: "This line will be moving slower than the reservation line." 3PM is the magic number. Oh, free Starbucks!"
San Jose Valley Fair Apple store, 8:17AM PT: Is anyone still reading this? While you all on the East Coast have been spending the last two hours fawning over some fancy new tablet, we here on the West side have been spending the better part of the evening and morning still waiting in line. It's okay, though, because we've had Woz to keep us company. We're sitting next to the line of non-preorders, which at this point has hit just over 100 hopeful consumers. A barista from Starbucks has graciously carted by bringing coffee and some minor snacks, seemingly for gratis. A pair of line goers brought with them a 27-inch iMac case to use as a chair (clever, you two)... and as we sit here writing this, our cameras currently on hiatus as we process images, an older gentleman in a black turtleneck and tight jeans has been walking by, iPhone attached to his belt. Clearly in the future Steve Jobs has discovered time travel and is purveying the lines from before his time. Maybe we haven't slept enough.
San Jose Valley Fair Apple store, 8:29AM PT: Well that was weird. Screams emanate from a dark hallways. Shivers down our spine, blood pressure rising, a cacophonous sea of blue that outnumbers the line itself gushes through. It's Apple employees, dressed for the occasion, bursting through like it's opening day for NFL season game. Weaving and juking, passing right by the crowd and giving them high fives as they pass. (Apple, our rockstars aren't like your rockstars.) Then they retrace steps, screaming just as much along the way. It's as if it never happened.
And now a scene from the outside of the mall. Two lines form, we ask the left line what the difference is. Poor soul in a grey sweatshirt, without skipping a beat, replies "they both suck." Right line is for reserves, left line is for those who couldn't fit in the mall line, waiting with baited breath and haphazard hope. We wish them well.
Hey look, it's a Woz! Just minutes after the clamor inside the shrouded Apple store subsided long enough to remove the drape, we decided to ever-so-cautiously interrupt Woz, peering through the glass portal. He was gracious enough to sign laptops -- yes, he really does just keep sharpies on him.
"Who's the sexiest industry luminary this side of the Silicon Valley? Ah yeah, that's right."
San Jose Valley Fair store, 8:59AM PT: After recovering from their impromptu cheerleading activities a half-hour earlier, Apple employees are going nuts inside the store, clapping, smiling ear to ear and pleased as punch to welcome customers. (They received their programming in a top-secret video dispatch from Dr. Evil Apple HQ minutes earlier.) As the countdown clock hits ten, camera-toting gawkers chant each number in awe, and then the doors finally open. Fists are pumped, as the first preorder customers are allowed to enter. Woz creates a ripple of high-fives.
Apple Store Bellevue Square, Bellevue WA, 10:00AM PT: "150+ people in the: non-pre-order line... in Microsoft country!" Thanks, Michael!