Last Friday, the iPad 2 launched.  Unlike with the first version, there was no way to reserve online.  The first iPad had a truly VIP buying experience, perhaps to accommodate us early adopters who wade into the murky waters of a first generation device.

The iPad 2, building on the reputation of the magical iPad, did not have that problem.  Tens of thousands of people lined up eagerly for hours to buy these new, even more magical devices.

I was one of those people, along with what I estimate were 700-1000 others at the Tysons Corner Apple Store in Northern Virginia.  It is my favorite store, since it is the closest to Happy Apps headquarters.

I got there at 4:30PM, later than I had hoped and got in line with my son.  The line had already gone out of the store, around the upstairs railing, past LL Bean, past the Verizon Store, past the smoothie shop, past Bloomingdale’s (the anchor store), down the hallway, to the doors and had wrapped back into the mall!  Soon mall security came around and forced us out into the windy and cold weather.  Perhaps Steve Jobs wanted to test us and see if were worthy of the iPad 2.

Fortunately, when you stand in line for an Apple product, you get to hang out with other Apple aficionados.  So the time (we waited around 3 hours including the actual purchase in-store) passed quickly.  The Apple employees kept us well informed, gave out “golden tickets” to re-assure us we weren’t wasting our time in line but were indeed guaranteed an iPad 2, and even cheered us on at one point!  (I could hear some of them gasp at how long the line had gotten.)

So was the iPad 2 worth 3 hours?  Yes, definitely.  Once I got it home, I was amazed at how much more comfortable it was to hold, due to its thinner profile and lighter weight.  It was definitely faster, though I haven’t quite measured exactly.  Later that night, I found a bug related to the iPad 2 camera in an iOS App that I’ve been doing some programming on.

You can see some of the live commentary and pics of the Tysons Corner Apple line at Happy Apps’ new Twitter account:!/happyapps