NEW YORK, March 15 Mac heads have been lining up at the famous 'glass cube' Apple store at Fifth Ave. and East 59th St. since Monday hoping to get an iPad. But by 7 PM on Thursday evening, no one had yet shown up at Tekserve, a local Apple retailer on West 23rd Street and 6th Avenue. The store had a good stock of iPads, an employee said, and would also start selling them Friday morning (at 9AM, instead of 8AM as at Apple stores).
Local retailers like Tekserve were essentially the "Apple Stores" before Apple opened its own retail locations, and they are still a good option. Tekserve is one of many Apple Authorized Resellers — both local stores and chains such as Best Buy that, like Apple stores, receive fresh stock of new products and in some cases are authorized to do repairs under warranty. Apple's website allows you to search for resellers by zip code.
Radio Shack is another reseller. A short walk away from Tekserve, at East 14th Street and 5th Ave., a Radio Shack sales rep told us around 6 PM that there was no line yet for the iPads that they, like the Apple stores, would begin selling at 8 AM Friday morning. The representative said that he expected a line before then — based on how things went for the previous iPad — but he couldn't say how early it would start.
A block away at the massive Best Buy store on Union Square — the only Best Buy anywhere that is open 24 hours — people were already lined up by 5PM, a customer service rep told us. She said that the store would start handing out tickets — as at the deli, it seems — at 10PM. People could come back and (hopefully) pick up a new iPad starting at 12:01 AM Friday. Walmarts around the U.S. also start sales at 12:01 AM. Best Buy and Walmart shoppers would actually have thier new tablets 8 hours before the Apple store campers.
So while lining up at an Apple store has a certain amount of geek cred, and camaraderie with fellow Apple lovers, it's not necessarily the best place to actually get a hot new Apple product when it comes out.
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