Why I’m Not Waiting In Line For The iPad 2 [Opinion]



Just a few minutes ago, after a nine day wait, the iPad 2 went up for order… and even if you dropped you order within seconds of them becoming available, Apple’s estimated shipping delay was between 3-5 business days. Worse, free shipping is your only option with the iPad 2: there’s no way to overnight it.

For a guy like me, the fact that the iPad 2 won’t be shipping out for almost another week was a problem. I have an obvious professional interest in having an iPad 2 as quickly as possible. Yet as I considered my options, I ended up hitting the order button anyway, because I just don’t think I can be part of the Apple Store launch day spectacle this time.

Apple is excellent at making people buying their latest gadget feel as if they are part of a major cultural event… and let’s face it, that is a fairly excellent way of describing the impact of the original iPhone or iPad.

Yet, for the iPad 2, the launch day spectacle associated with the first iPad or iPhone seems so unseemly. The original iPad will be remembered as an important milestone in not just the history but the culture of personal computing. Being part of that launch event was to be a part of something bigger than one’s self. The iPad was a revolution, and its appropriate for a crowd caught up in the madness of a revolution to be ebullient, and it was okay for me to congratulate myself on my forward-thinkingness.

But the iPad 2? It’s a very typical (albeit gorgeous) second-revision update for Apple: a spec bump and a sveltening. It’s not a revolution or even a revelation, it’s a refinement. That I want one is without dispute, but the idea of congratulating myself for buying one spurs me into a jag of neurotic self-loathing. I don’t want to cheer or high-five anyone for buying a new, iteratively advanced iPad a year after the first one, because this time, I’m not helping welcome in the post-PC era, I’m just a willing party in the most irresponsible kind of consumerism: trading in one slab of aluminum, silicon and glass that I never really needed for a slightly better version than I need even less.

Of course, I will buy an iPad 2 anyway. I’ll justify it to myself professionally, but I know the purchase is really the fulfillment of a baser lust. I already feel slightly sordid about it, and that’s without lining up hours ahead of time in front of my local Apple Store, becoming part of a cheering biomass of sweaty flesh. The very idea of running the gantleope of high-fiving Geniuses — each proffering a palm that is as chapped and vessel-burst after a thousand slaps as that of a paraplegic prostitute sitting in the back row of a Times Square movie theater — is enough to make me feel queasy. Bad enough that I’m so quick to trade-in my iPad at all without coat it with the globulous and opalescent glaze of misguided self-congratulation.

That said, this own essay is its own form of self-congratulation: a token nod to lofty principles of responsible, eco-friendly consumerism that I not only can’t really practice as a tech journalist, but probably wouldn’t bother with even if I was just a civilian. This little tuft pulled out of my navel after a spot of pre-dawn ompahloskepsis wouldn’t have even been written if Apple had offered overnight shipping on the iPad 2. How principled can I possibly be?

Not very, so I offer these thoughts only because I had them. I’m not really sure what’s going to happen when 5pm comes around. I still don’t think I can stomach an Apple Store today, but maybe I’ll end up sauntering by an AT&T store later this afternoon after all. Purely by coincidence, I assure you.

  • vintagesax88

    DO NOT BUY AN iPAD 2.0
    To see why:

  • CountryGuy7

    The online ordering for ithe Pad 2 was very fast and very smooth unlike the iPad 1 debacle. The debacle this time is not being allowed to order until Friday and then finding that it “Ships: 3 – 5 business days” and Delivers: Mar 18 – Mar 25. That is up to 2 weeks. This is shoddy business and not what I’ve come to expect from a “classy” company like Apple.

  • Mack

    I bought iPad1 and they are going to introduce the iPad2 … if you are tech fans don’t buy it .. just wait .. Tech change everyday and why would waste your money

  • Zaid Hazari

    There is no “Classy” when it comes to companies. They want your money, that is all they want. That is what they’ll get regardless of the bullshit they pull. Apple, however, is immune to backlash.

  • teknik1200

    so the idea that maybe they actually shipped their entire up to date stock to stores is bad? ideally the trucks were loaded with every available ipad and are arriving today.

  • Jeff Perren

    What’s wrong with wanting your money, provided they’re willing and able to offer something you value in return? Are they supposed to be a charity? They do make a good product, after all.

  • Kdracco1

    Pathetic, what a pathetic lack of self control.

  • Jefnels

    Pretty darn funny. Well written sir!

  • BananaSplit

    It’s not a waste of my money since I didn’t buy the first gen iPad.

    The excuse of “technology changes everyday so wait” is the most boring and lazy one of all. We all know it changes! Should I wait for the iPad 3 of Spring 2012 just for a barrage of you to say “the iPad 4 will be better so don’t bother”? If I followed these dumb rules, I wouldn’t own any electronics! Anything techy you buy will have a better version ahead. Duh! Either sell it or continue to use it till it dies. Big whoop.

  • CountryGuy7

    I canceled my online order with Apple because of the long delivery time and went to the Southlake store (about 50 miles away) where I was 107th in line. We were assured that they had plenty of stock for the people in line. After two hours in line (about 4:15pm) they came around with reservation cards and informed us that the only choice was Verizon…..they did not have any AT&T iPads for us at this point in line. I’ve had good experience with AT&T and less than satisfactory experience with Verizon……so I came home empty handed.

  • jfriedman

    “…Of course, I will buy an iPad 2 anyway. I’ll justify it to myself professionally, but I know the purchase is really the fulfillment of a baser lust. I already feel slightly sordid about it…”

    Same here, completely.