Today in Apple history: First-gen iPad rolls out around the world

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iPad
Were you a first-gen iPad customer?
Photo: Apple

May 28: Today in Apple history May 28, 2010: Customers across Europe and Asia queue up to buy the iPad when Apple’s new tablet finally rolls out internationally.

The reason for the gap between the iPad’s U.S. launch in early April and its international debut more than a month later? Unexpectedly large demand for the groundbreaking device.

Apple sold a massive 1 million iPads in its first month on sale, and struggled to meet the overwhelming demand. In the end, Apple had no choice but to divert some of the iPads it had earmarked for the European launch to stores in the United States. As a result, Cupertino pushed back the international launch.

A Reuters story illustrated the feverish level of excitement about the iPad by quoting an eager customer in Japan:

“I wanted to touch it as soon as possible. I felt real excitement when it was finally in my hands,” said Takechiyo Yamanaka, 19, who had camped out in front of Tokyo’s flagship Apple store from Wednesday evening to be the first in line.

iPad becomes an international success for Apple

On the week of the iPad’s international launch, the buzz surrounding the device helped Apple finally overtake Microsoft as the world’s most valuable tech stock. It was an extraordinary turnaround for Apple. The company had gone from near-bankruptcy to a tech titan in less than 15 years.

The original iPad measured 0.5 inches thick and weighed 1.5 pounds. It boasted a 9.7-inch multitouch display and a 1GHz Apple A4 chip. Storage options ranged from 16GB to 64GB of flash memory. It did not come with a camera. Nonetheless, this astonishing new type of computer became Apple’s fastest-selling new product line in history.

Were you an Apple fan and iPad customer back in the summer of 2010? If so, where — and when — did you get your first-generation iPad? Let us know your recollections and first impressions in the comments section below.