Apple Computer Inc. on Friday officially launched Mac OS X 10.2 Jaguar at its 35 retail locations across the United States. So far, the events have seen hundreds of people waiting in line to get their hands on the new operating system and to get a glimpse of the demos Apple staff are putting on the theaters.
“This is the greatest night in Apple’s software history,” Ken Bereskin, Apple’s director of Mac OS product marketing told MacCentral from Apple’s Palo Alto Store tonight. “Our customers are very excited, this whole night is great.”
Apple executives including Steve Jobs, Phil Schiller, Ron Johnson, Allen Olivo, Jon Rubenstein and the charismatic Frank Casanova attended the Palo Alto Jaguar event, which saw its largest crowd since the grand opening.
“The store is completely packed — that’s 400-500 people and it’s almost midnight,” said Allen Olivo, Apple’s senior director for retail, from the Palo Alto store. “The line since 9:00 pm has been 2000-3000 people long and it’s still holding at that level. The line here in Palo Alto is easily five times what we did on opening day.”
While Jaguar may have been the reason people were willing to wait in line for hours, it wasn’t the only thing selling at the stores. Software racks have been emptied and computer systems of all kinds were being sold at various locations — in some cases multiple system purchases worth thousands of dollars.
“This has been a tremendous success,” said Olivo.Clarendon
One of Apple’s newest stores, The Grove in Los Angeles also saw heavy traffic all night — manager Amy Pape said the traffic “was much longer than during our grand opening.”
Just 15 minutes before closing The Grove had approximately 1,000 people still waiting outside the doors to get their copy of Jaguar.
“I was surpised at the length of the line, even at 11:45 the line was still all the way across The Grove and into the Farmer’s Market,” said Chris Thompson, who attended The Grove opening.The Grove
Independent Apple resellers on the East Coast, where the events have now ended, report high customer turnout and brisk sales of Jaguar for the 100 minutes it was on sale. Mark Gregory, owner of the Mac Authority in Nashville, Tennessee, said the turnout at their Jaguar party was much higher than anticipated.
“We had a really good turnout and sold lots of copies of Mac OS X 10.2,” said Gregory.Fashion Island
Many people took Apple Senior Vice President of Retail, Ron Johnson’s words to heart and showed up in droves wherever Mac OS X 10.2 was being sold. In an interview with MacCentral yesterday, Johnson said this is “100 minutes people won’t want to miss.”
Chad Wollman came to the Palisades Apple Store in West Nyack, NY with his family early in the evening to make sure he would get a copy of Jaguar. A recent Apple “Switcher,” Wollman purchased an iMac, giving his father the Dell laptop he used to use.
“I just switched six months ago. I gave it a long shot and just fell in love,” Wollman told MacCentral.Palisades Apple Store
One hour before the event started at Palisades, six people were in line waiting to get their copy of Jaguar, but it didn’t take long for the crowd to form. By 10:00 pm the line had grown to 100 people and well over 200 were waiting just 20 minutes later when Jaguar officially went on sale.
Apple employees racing to fill customer requests at the Palisades store described the mood as being like “opening day.” Another employee added, “this is about ten times more hectic than opening day.”
Many people prepared in advance and made a backup of their computers even before they left to purchase Jaguar. Loren Brichter, who lives about 40 minutes from the Palisades store, said he would install Jaguar tonight.
“I’ve been waiting a year for this. I’ve been an OS X user since the public beta. I have the titanium at home, and I’m really excited about quartz extreme,” said Brichter.
Not everybody that attended tonight’s events came to purchase Jaguar. In fact, some people already had the new operating system, but just couldn’t miss the excitement of an Apple event. Foster Bass, who received his Jaguar order earlier today, was at the Palisades for the event tonight.
“The excitement around an apple event is something that I can’t miss,” said Bass. “I got here at 10:00 pm thinking I would be early and there were already several hundred people here, to my surprise.”
Lines continued at the cash registers as the event was supposed to close at midnight. Lines for people waiting to pay stretched out the door and employees were stationed in the mall’s hallway to make sure people didn’t walk off with product while in line.Woodfield Apple Store
Customers at the Woodfield Apple Store in Schaumburg, IL reported similar experiences, with crowds of people seemingly coming out of nowhere to purchase Jaguar at 10:20 pm. Al LeVine said he got in line at about 9:00 and within an hour the mall was mobbed.
“Because we were early in the line, we were able to get in and get out,” said LeVine. “We grabbed a copy of 10.2 as fast as possible, bought it and got out of there. I got a T-Shirt and a nice, round mouse pad on the way out.”