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View Full Version : MacTalk in New York - Homeward Bound and a Debriefing



MTBlogBot2000
5th April 2010, 07:21 AM
<img src="http://www.mactalk.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2010/04/IMG_0043.jpg" alt="IMG_0043" title="IMG_0043" width="487" height="413" class="aligncenter size-full wp-image-6120" />

After 10 days, the great iPad adventure, unfortunately, has come to an end. I'm sitting in JFK airport right now, waiting for my flight back to Australia. I think our mission to get iPads was successful. We aimed for 24 iPads, but was only able to get 19 - which is still impressive considering Apple were limiting sales to 2 per person. It was relatively smooth sailing all day, with a camera crew companions and little to no lines at all the four Manhattan stores. However, the day came to a sour end with the loss of my wallet, which put a halt on the iPad purchasing.<!--more-->

The launch day (Saturday 3rd of April) started with Pete deciding to camp outside the 5th Avenue Store at midnight. I wimped out and decided to stay in my hotel until 5AM. We ended up being 18th and 19th in the line. The sleep in probably paid off, with Pete a total zombie by around noon - while I was relatively fresh.

The producer of a documentary about happiness (which is still in production) found out via Twitter that Pete and I were hunting for iPads and got in touch with us to ask if we would allow a camera crew to follow us around Manhattan, buying iPads, and asking questions and trying to understand why we're doing this. The crew met me at the hotel at 5AM and we went to the 5th Ave store to meet Peter, who was also joined by Graham from Glasshouse Apps, who also flew from Sydney to score an iPad!

<img src="http://www.mactalk.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2010/04/skitched-20100404-171251.jpg" alt="decryption outside the 5th Ave Apple Store" title="skitched-20100404-171251" width="467" height="350" class="size-full wp-image-6122" />

After being berated for not bringing any coffee, it was quite a boring wait until 9AM. Gizmodo came along and gave out goodie bags, but unfortunately, some total jerks ran up from the back of the line and stole the bags from us - so Pete and I missed out. Graham got one and shared some of the loot. I got into an argument with a stocky New Yorker who got greedy and took a bag, but he didn't seem to care and had no shame for his actions.

<img src="http://www.mactalk.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2010/04/IMG_0038.jpg" alt="IMG_0038" title="IMG_0038" width="304" height="405" class="aligncenter size-full wp-image-6123" />

As it got closer to 9AM, the Apple hype machine came into full swing, with staff lining the outside of the glass cube, cheering. Chants of "Who wants an iPad?", "Are you excited for the iPad!?" got some screams from the crowd, but really, we just wanted in to get the iPads (and to use the bathroom, I was busting).

By this stage, there was probably 200 or so people in the line. At the other Manhattan stores, maybe 10-20. The 5th Ave store was obviously, where all the action was. Media all over the place and Greg Packer being the publicity whore he is. Funny thing is, Greg didn't even have a reservation. Unfortunately, Apple let Greg in first, despite not having a reservation. Totally unfair I reckon. That shit wouldn't fly back in Australia. The guy actually suppose to be first in line was a German dude who runs an App Store website.

It seems a lot of people came from overseas to get the iPad - the people in front of us were from Russia and those behind us from Spain. People really want that iPad!

<img src="http://www.mactalk.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2010/04/IMG_0459.jpg" alt="IMG_0459" title="IMG_0459" width="572" height="429" class="aligncenter size-full wp-image-6124" />

9AM comes around and finally, we get to enter the store. We were in the first batch of people let in and immediately we were assaulted by the Apple cheerleaders. The entire 5th Ave store was empty (the store is *never* empty), except for blue shirted staff, cheering and clapping. I've had this done before at Australian store openings, but damn, these guys were into it. Like Pete said, it happens in Australia, but the Aussies are kind of embarrassed by it - the New Yorkers looked like they were actually enjoying congratulating us and making us feel special.

<a href="http://img39.yfrog.com/i/pzx.mp4/">Here's a small video of what the scene was like entering the store.</a>

The iPads were all neatly stacked at the genius bar and within 5 minutes, we were done. (the receipt actually says 9:05AM, hah). The plan was to go straight to the Upper West Side store, but we didn't expect this massive media scrum as we left, as we were one of the first people out, with iPads. Immediately we had microphones and cameras shoved in our faces, journalists actually arguing with each other as to who was first to talk to us. It was exactly like the media that assault a politician as they exit Parliament. It was embarrassing. All we did was buy a goddamn piece of glass, plastic and metal.

After a quick chat to God knows who, some morning show guy from NBC wanted to do a live cross with us once he realised we're from Australia. At this point, I ran in to Alexandra Peters, PR person for Firemint, who also came from Australia to get an iPad. We did a quick interview with the NBC guy, with Alex being the focus as she has all the PR skills to get the message across, where I am just a slob from Australia who wants to go and get more iPads. Unable to get away, a lady from Fox wanted a chat as well - this is the footage you would have seen no channel 9 or Sky News (9, Sky, Fox are all News Limited/Murdoch outlets).

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Finally escaping the 5th Ave store, we went to the hotel, dumped the 4 iPads we scored off, and continued to the Upper West Side store. At this store there was no line and they were selling to everyone, even if you didn't have a reservation. We managed to get 5 from this store. Back to the hotel, then a cab to West 14th - again, right in, but only because we had a reservation. 4 iPads snagged from here. Another cab from the SoHo store, where there was a small line. 10 min and we were in. 4 more iPads from here and a bunch of accessories (6 docks, 3 cases and 2 VGA adaptors - unfortunately, the keyboard dock wasn't in stock). Each time Apple were quite keen to pimp AppleCare. Good news is that the warranty is global, like a laptop or iPod, not local like the iPhone.

<img src="http://www.mactalk.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2010/04/skitched-20100404-170829.jpg" alt="skitched-20100404-170829" title="skitched-20100404-170829" width="337" height="449" class="aligncenter size-full wp-image-6121" />

So we've been to all the stores, managed to get 17 iPads. Back to the hotel so we can actually use one! Go in, fire up the MacBook, plug in the iPad and uh-oh, we need iTunes 9.1 - head down to Starbucks, update iTunes, get a coffee (or a hot chocolate, I don't drink coffee), then back to the hotel to activate the iPad.

It works and is magical, just like Apple said. Our day wasn't over though, we wanted more iPads! We said goodbye to the camera crew and Pete took a nap (who really needed some sleep), while I went back to the Upper West Side store. They didn't remember me and I purchased 2 more (and was complimented on my sneakers by the sales person who greeted me with a "yo!" and saluted me off with a fist punch - only in New York). I went back to the hotel and Pete was still asleep, so I went to try my luck at the 5th Avenue store. I took a cab there as I couldn't be arsed walking - my feet are already broken from all the sightseeing over the past 8 days. I got out of the cab, went in the store after a small line (there's always a line at the 5th Ave store, it's crazy) and got 2 more iPads - but then disaster struck. I lost my wallet.

With no wallet, there's no credit cards. With no credit cards, there's no more iPads. I thought I just left it at the hotel, but unfortunately, it wasn't there. I'm pretty sure I left it in the cab, or dropped it on my way out of the cab, as I definitely had it on my way out, as I was in the hotel lobby just 10 minutes earlier, calling ANZ to remove the block on my card as they detected "suspicious activity".

All that was in my wallet was a Victorian learners permit and an expired Metrocard. It was the loss of access to money that scared me the most. My ATM card and 5 credit cards were in there! My main concern was being able to pay customs when I enter Australia. It also meant a halt to buying iPads, as I had no way to pay for them. It really sucked as Apple were letting me buy as many as I wanted. I could have even brought back extra iPads for those who missed out asking for them initially! Luckily, I did leave a NAB and an ING Visa Debit card behind in the hotel (as I had no money in those accounts). If it was any other day, I could have sent my family to a bank to deposit cash into my NAB account, but it was Easter and all the banks were closed and no-one else in my family has a NAB account. But thanks to some awesome people on Twitter, who have NAB accounts, they were able to instantly loan me some money from their NAB accounts, to my NAB accounts, to give me some cash to pay customs and use for the remaining time I have in New York. Without these people who helped me, I would have been totally stuffed. I can't thank them enough!

So at the end of the day we had 19 iPads and a lost wallet. We only expected to get 16 iPads, so we came out ahead, despite the lost wallet.

I've had a bit of hands on time with the iPad, but not enough to write a prop review. I plan on doing that during my flight, on the iPad itself! In the mean time, I'm fending off questions from strangers at the airport, asking me what I think of the iPad.

<a href="http://forums.mactalk.com.au/57/83097-ipad-hands-first-impressions-q.html">If you have any questions about the iPad, ask them in this thread on the forums. </a>

Unfortunately, the documentary footage isn't allowed to be released until the movie is released (exclusive sale rights and legal junk etc.), but we might have a 2 min "highlights" reel - if we do, I'll make sure to post it here.

When I get back, we will be recording a podcast about the iPad and the trip, which will be released on Thursday. My flight is gonna board soon, so I have to make a quick exit! Thanks for all the support guys - I couldn't have done it without you. A big props to Pete as well, who managed not to laugh when I lost my wallet and comforted me, hah -

Seon
5th April 2010, 07:53 AM
Sheesh, what an awesome sounding adventure! Sorry to hear about your wallet, but hey, stuff like that happens!

19 iPads is a great score! Well done, I am sure everyone that gets one from your stash is going to be your best friends for life!

Paris
5th April 2010, 08:14 AM
What a champ!

Great job Anthony and co. Congrats.

nike1
5th April 2010, 08:21 AM
sounds like an awesome time

jeloz
5th April 2010, 08:21 AM
nice work Ant & Pete and those who donated...sorry i could not help, never liked NAB :)
Jeloz

kyte
5th April 2010, 08:29 AM
Well I thought you were nuts, but you know what? Changed my mind, what an adventure! Well done :)

KaitoYamaro
5th April 2010, 08:39 AM
All we did was buy a goddamn piece of glass, plastic and metal.

Says the omg-i-gotta-have-it-the-very-first-day man? :D Still, you're my hero!

cosmichobo
5th April 2010, 08:53 AM
I lost my wallet. But thanks to some awesome people on Twitter, who have NAB accounts, they were able to instantly loan me some money from their NAB accounts, to my NAB accounts, to give me some cash to pay customs and use for the remaining time I have in New York. Without these people who helped me, I would have been totally stuffed. I can't thank them enough!

This was an actual email I received from a filmmaker acquaintance on Feb 18 this year:


Hello,
How are you doing ? I hope you are doing fine, I'm sorry that I didn't inform you about my traveling to England for a Seminar.I need a favor from you as soon as you receive this e-mail because I misplaced my wallet on my way to the hotel where my money,and other valuable things were kept it, I will like you to assist me with a soft loan urgently. I will be needing the sum of $2,500 to sort-out my hotel bills and get myself back home.I will appreciate whatever you can afford to help me with, I will pay you back as soon as I return,I have trust on you,Please kindly let me know if you can be of help so I can send you my details to use when sending the money through Western Union Or Money Gram today, may god bless you and your family.
Any assistant you can offer will be greatly appreciated
(name)


And - it was a hoax. Someone had hacked her account. Luckily, that time, no one sent any money. (Poor *** if it had been true!)

So it was deja vuish seeing your posts!

I knew with the MacTalk community, it wouldn't be a problem for long.

If only we'd had you back in 1997 when the TAM was released, Decryption... ;)

cheers

cosmic

walexx
5th April 2010, 09:07 AM
For all those eagerly awaiting their iPads, the flight has just departed New York, so they are on their way :).

Mine leave NY tomorrow as a friend is bringing 2 back for me woooohooo :).

TheKeddi
5th April 2010, 09:16 AM
Well done guys! And what a wonderful community mactalk is! I don't have a NAB account which made me sad I couldn't help!!!

WindowsVista
5th April 2010, 09:21 AM
Only to happy to help with what I could. An amazing trip that has made me smile and kept me awake late at night with anticipation. I hope those iPads get back safely for everyone!

snark
5th April 2010, 09:23 AM
Did you sleep in the bed WITH the iPads? ;)



Well I thought you were nuts, but you know what? Changed my mind, what an adventure! Well done :)
I still think they're nuts - but in a good way. :p

tintinaujapon
5th April 2010, 10:16 AM
Have been dying to hear how the adventure turned out.

I would have snapped at the cutting-in-line thing.

iphonedev
5th April 2010, 10:37 AM
Curious to know what the gizmodo goodies bag had. :)

doctorj
5th April 2010, 10:49 AM
Great story guys, esp. twitter friends lending you $. Can't wait to hear the podcast.

lukemc
5th April 2010, 11:21 AM
great adventure guys, shame about the wallet but it will only make the trip more memorable when you look back on it. Sorry i couldnt help with cash but gave the NAB the arse a couple of months ago.

raj
5th April 2010, 11:31 AM
Well done Anthony & Pete, what a fantastic adventure! I'm extremely jealous!

kungfucamel
5th April 2010, 12:58 PM
sounds like you had an awesome trip over there - well done guys!

Mafesto
5th April 2010, 01:17 PM
Well done guys, true warriors over there. Have really enjoyed following your escapades in the US. Cant wait to hear the reviews on the device. Safe travels back!:thumbup:

tangent23
5th April 2010, 01:28 PM
good stuff.. next best thing to being there in person..
congratulations on a successful mission!

kenexx
5th April 2010, 01:58 PM
For all those eagerly awaiting their iPads, the flight has just departed New York, so they are on their way :).

Mine leave NY tomorrow as a friend is bringing 2 back for me woooohooo :).

I hope they're packed really well :eek:

decryption
5th April 2010, 03:54 PM
In LA now, waiting for the connecting flight :)
QF108, if anyone cares, hah

cowzy
5th April 2010, 04:57 PM
what an awesome effort!
can't wait for the review and the podcast!

chuppa
5th April 2010, 05:00 PM
QF108

Let's hope it's not another case of this!!!

Qantas plane grounded after window cracks (http://www.smh.com.au/travel/travel-news/qantas-plane-grounded-after-window-cracks-20100405-rmr4.html)

nibbles
5th April 2010, 05:07 PM
In LA now, waiting for the connecting flight :)
QF108, if anyone cares, hah

No wi-fi on that flight either I suppose, pitty. Good luck and don't damage those iPad's in anyway

Lockley
5th April 2010, 05:43 PM
good work guys

u98925
6th April 2010, 06:56 AM
Must of had a slight head wind on the way home -

http://img638.imageshack.us/img638/6770/screenshot20100406at654.png

OziMac
6th April 2010, 08:30 PM
Here's a nice article from IT Wire about Anthony and Pete's US adventures:

iTWire - 18 iPads in one day: Australia?s April iPad pilgrimage (http://www.itwire.com/it-industry-news/strategy/38084-18-ipads-in-one-day-australias-april-ipad-pilgrimage)


For Australian early adopter enthusiasts spending thousands on a trip to the US to pick up the latest hot Apple kit may just be too much fun to pass up.

When Anthony Agius came through Australian customs in Sydney Airport this morning, he knew he would be one of those people that might hold up the queue.

Seems like this really was one of those moments you want to be there for - really regretting not taking the punt and going along now!

By the way Anthony - what did they end up charging you for customs / GST? Was it lower because they subtracted the US sales tax you'd already paid?

curio
6th April 2010, 08:39 PM
Another article on your great iPad adventure
Delimiter – 18 iPads in one day: Australia’s April iPad pilgrimage (http://delimiter.com.au/2010/04/06/18-ipads-in-one-day-australias-april-ipad-pilgrimage/)

Woops just realised its the exact same that OziMac posted. :P Ignore me!

DJY
6th April 2010, 09:43 PM
Here's a nice article from IT Wire about Anthony and Pete's US adventures:

iTWire - 18 iPads in one day: Australia?s April iPad pilgrimage (http://www.itwire.com/it-industry-news/strategy/38084-18-ipads-in-one-day-australias-april-ipad-pilgrimage)



Seems like this really was one of those moments you want to be there for - really regretting not taking the punt and going along now!

By the way Anthony - what did they end up charging you for customs / GST? Was it lower because they subtracted the US sales tax you'd already paid?

According to the article only charge was $500!
Maybe they lowered the price hoping he'd let them play with one!

WindowsVista
6th April 2010, 09:49 PM
That's a great read.

OziMac
6th April 2010, 09:49 PM
According to the article only charge was $500!
Maybe they lowered the price hoping he'd let them play with one!

Yeah I saw that - I meant what were the charges they levied, because $500 seems way lower than 10% GST and 5% duty. Would love to know as I live in constant fear of the $900 limit, and something less than 15% would be kind of awesome.

gikku
6th April 2010, 10:00 PM
I'd suggest the GST applies to the current value, not the purchase price last week. The goods, when brought in, are no longer new. :o

El Guardo
6th April 2010, 10:07 PM
The goods, when brought in, are no longer new. :o

The goods, for the next three weeks, will be worth considerably more than new. :angry:

bartron
6th April 2010, 10:16 PM
I'd suggest the GST applies to the current value, not the purchase price last week. The goods, when brought in, are no longer new. :o

the rule of 10% gst + 5% duty is there but ultimately it's up to the discretion of the customs officer on duty as to the value of the items and what charges apply. 18 iPads at US$499 is just shy of AU$10k. $500 is 5% of that....in other words, they only charged import duty.

OziMac
6th April 2010, 10:18 PM
the rule of 10% gst + 5% duty is there but ultimately it's up to the discretion of the customs officer on duty as to the value of the items and what charges apply. 18 iPads at US$499 is just shy of AU$10k. $500 is 5% of that....in other words, they only charged import duty.

So it's discretionary? Wow, that is a whole can of WTF... glad it worked out for the iPad adventure though.

bartron
6th April 2010, 10:27 PM
So it's discretionary? Wow, that is a whole can of WTF....

It speeds things up when people just want to get off planes and get their bags. Otherwise you'd be stuck there for hours as the officers looked up the value of things etc etc.

If they had been sent in a parcel then different story. The accompanying paperwork would dictate the value and charges applied accordingly by a machine.

canonafficionado
7th April 2010, 12:50 AM
Great write-up of the trip. Bit shocking to hear of the Gizmodo bag nappers, but all the best trips have a few unexpected events!

chrome
8th April 2010, 03:32 PM
Bad luck about the wallet, mate.

graemie
8th April 2010, 06:04 PM
Man that was an awesome trip. And great to be able to hang out with Anthony and Pete in the queue. If anyone's interested I posted a video of it here (http://www.glasshouseapps.com/blog/2010/04/ipad-saturday/). You can get a bit of an idea of what the media scrum was like!

The Fifth Ave Apple Store is just awesome, and I hadn't realised that the location was just opposite Central Park before. I only got five days there but Anthony and Pete got a few more days of being a tourist, which was a good idea (a bit hard for me to leave my wife and three kids for longer than a week though).

What a buzz. Amazing.

DJY
8th April 2010, 06:32 PM
Love reading about this one...
love what you all did...
love the community feeling of MacTalk and how people rallied around when needed...

so much so I think I'm going to NYC myself now for 7-10 days!

decryption
8th April 2010, 06:37 PM
Man that was an awesome trip. And great to be able to hang out with Anthony and Pete in the queue. If anyone's interested I posted a video of it here (http://www.glasshouseapps.com/blog/2010/04/ipad-saturday/). You can get a bit of an idea of what the media scrum was like!

The Fifth Ave Apple Store is just awesome, and I hadn't realised that the location was just opposite Central Park before. I only got five days there but Anthony and Pete got a few more days of being a tourist, which was a good idea (a bit hard for me to leave my wife and three kids for longer than a week though).

What a buzz. Amazing.

That video was great! The scene of all the cameras at the door was crazy - I don't think I'll be forgetting that any time soon, hah


Love reading about this one...
love what you all did...
love the community feeling of MacTalk and how people rallied around when needed...

so much so I think I'm going to NYC myself now for 7-10 days!

Oh man, I can't wait to go back to NY - such an amazing city!

DJY
8th April 2010, 10:07 PM
Oh man, I can't wait to go back to NY - such an amazing city!

I might just have to steal some of your ideas, favourite places, experiences then! I am about to head away with work again... so will be on the road pretty much solidly until till now and early June which is when I'm looking to go over.

I might have to start a NYC thread - to help you recount all your experiences, ideas, tips, and get everyone else's as well! Sounds like we have a lot of members that are fans of NYC!

kevinnugent
8th April 2010, 11:26 PM
I might just have to steal some of your ideas, favourite places, experiences then! I am about to head away with work again... so will be on the road pretty much solidly until till now and early June which is when I'm looking to go over.

I might have to start a NYC thread - to help you recount all your experiences, ideas, tips, and get everyone else's as well! Sounds like we have a lot of members that are fans of NYC!

There was one a little while ago, I think when Mitty was going called NYC Tips or something. Full of gems of wisdom.

I'd live there if I could a. Get a green card/visa and b. Could afford it.

Anthony could run Mactalk from there though (hint hint! :)).

DJY
9th April 2010, 06:28 PM
There was one a little while ago, I think when Mitty was going called NYC Tips or something. Full of gems of wisdom.


Thanks for the tip! I'll start searching before I start a new thread!
I have three overseas trips in the next eight weeks.... two of them to the USA. Only one pleasure/holidays though

Rant
20th April 2010, 04:34 PM
Luckily decryption didn't earn a lifetime iPad limit like this guy.

How I went from Apple store newbie to lifetime ban in one week at Protocol Snow (http://www.protocolsnow.com/2010/04/17/how-i-went-from-apple-store-newbie-to-lifetime-ban-in-one-week/)