iPod draws customers to Apple Store opening

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Irvine resident Jay Sato was up before dawn to ensure his place in line for the opening of the Apple Store Fashion Island. He arrived just after 5 a.m., to be the first one there. He was also the first one to make a purchase at the new Southern California store, rushing in ahead of the 400+ people waiting in line to come out with an iPod.

Carlos Pero, another local Mac user, was the second customer in line before the store opened. He also bought an iPod. "It's extra special to come down on opening day and give this birthday gift to myself," said Pero.

Months after the first Apple Store openings in Glendale and McLean, the local customer anticipation and the large turnouts continue unabated. Several of the customers here are repeat Apple Store opening attendees. Retired airline pilot Mike Kaufmann has flown from his home in Santa Cruz, California to several of the openings, having attended one in Connecticut as well as the recent Northridge, and Palo Alto events. Kaufmann also planned on buying an iPod.

Members of the Orange Apple Club, a local Macintosh User Group organized their attendance with the store management. More than twenty of their 300 some members were in line when the doors opened.

During the morning wait, Apple Store staff walked through the line demonstrating the iPod and iBooks to the enthusiastic crowd. Shortly before doors opened, three Store Staff held out iPod boxes as though they were going to throw them into the crowd. "That's cruel," said one waiting customer. That same person was later seen leaving with a new iPod under his arm.

Fashion Island is an upscale, open-air mall in Newport Beach. Café seating directly outside the Apple Store affords airport-equipped customers the chance to log on to the store's wireless Internet connection without actually entering the store. iBook-toting customers waiting in line before the opening took advantage of the free access to check email and surf Apple's website.

Two and half hours after opening, the line outside the new store was down to near fifty in number, but unabated in excitement.

Apple staff wouldn't officially comment on exactly how many customers were in attendance, but it looked like a strong and positive store opening.

This story, "iPod draws customers to Apple Store opening" was originally published by PCWorld.

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