iPad stirs more curiosity than sales at U Bookstore

The store received about 30 iPad units Saturday, but employees say they have not yet sold out.

iPad in Coffman
Jim Johnson, a Jr.

Ian Larson

iPad in Coffman Jim Johnson, a Jr.

by Cali Owings

Before entering the University of Minnesota Bookstore on Monday afternoon, Dan Smelter doubted he would purchase the much-hyped iPad. Within minutes, however, the biochemistry junior joined more than 300,000 others in welcoming Apple Inc.âÄôs latest technology. Employees at M Tech in Coffman Union said they noticed the bookstore was busier than usual Monday afternoon with many people coming to test out the iPad, even if they werenâÄôt flying off the shelves. iPad sales at the Bookstore have been steady since Saturday when the store received about 30 units, but they have not sold out, M Tech Director James Kyle said. Likewise, the Apple Store at the Mall of America has not sold out of their iPads either, although all stores received a limited quantity, according to an employee who answered the phone Monday. Apple retail stores are not authorized to release exact sales figures. Harvey Zuckman, owner of FirstTech Computer in Minneapolis, said the iPad sold out within a few hours of opening the store Saturday morning. âÄúThere were five people waiting at the door at 8 [a.m.],âÄù Zuckman said. âÄúThe store doesnâÄôt open until 9.âÄù The iPad is similar in function to the iPod touch and iPhone, but at 9.7 inches, it is also similar to tablet computers and e-readers such as AmazonâÄôs Kindle. The iPad is currently available with Wi-Fi compatibility only, and a 3G capable version will be available at the end of the month. The iPad with Wi-Fi is currently retailing between $499 and $699, depending on the size of the hard drive. The 3G versions of the iPad will cost $129 more. To access the 3G network on the iPad, the purchase of a monthly data plan from AT&T will be required. Zuckman said he could definitely see himself reading books on the iPad. âÄúI just think itâÄôs a whole new way of interacting with the world,âÄù he said. Students weigh in on the iPad Although his decision appeared quick, Smelter said he had been looking at the iPad online since it was announced. Once he brought it home, Smelter said he was impressed with the iPadâÄôs performance. He downloaded the iBooks application and another to watch CBS shows. âÄúOf course itâÄôs not the same as a normal book, but itâÄôs not as hard on your eyes as youâÄôd think it would be,âÄù Smelter said, adding that one of his textbooks is available in PDF format so he can read it on the iPad. Smelter never got an iPhone and doesnâÄôt use a MacBook computer. But for Mac addicts like Clement Choong, who has one of each, the iPad was a âÄúnecessity.âÄù âÄúIâÄôm just an Apple fan, I guess,âÄù Choong, an economics and marketing junior, said. The iPad drew a lot of attention Monday afternoon from visitors like Ashton Johnson, who wanted to experience the new technology firsthand. The political science junior said being able to test out the iPad changed his mind. âÄúWhen I first saw it, I couldnâÄôt see any use in it, but now you can see how fun it really is,âÄù Johnson said. Chris Iverson, a health care management sophomore, said he wasnâÄôt impressed with the iPad. âÄúItâÄôs basically a big-boy version of the iPod touch,âÄù Iverson said. Some students said they were curious but would prefer to wait until a second or third generation of the device is available. Among the most popular questions is why the iPad doesnâÄôt have a camera. Caleb Kestner, an English senior who works in sales at M Tech, speculated that the second generation of the iPad would probably have a camera. âÄúRight now theyâÄôre just trying to figure out âÄòWhat do people really want?âÄô âÄù Kestner said.