Tech Craze

PARIS, May 28, 2010 (AFP) – Thousands of die-hard Apple fans mobbed shops in parts of Europe and Asia on Friday after the iPad, touted as a revolution in personal computing, began its global launch. Long queues of customers snaked outside Apple shops in Australia and Japan hours before the opening and similar huddled masses of gadget lovers turned out at stores in six European countries including Britain and France.

The iPad — a flat, 10-inch (25-centimetre) black tablet — was also going on sale in Canada as part of a global roll-out that was pushed back by a month due to huge demand in the United States.

One million iPads were sold in 28 days in the United States after the product’s debut in early April.

At Apple’s flagship store in Paris, set in the prestigious underground mall of the Louvre museum, 24-year-old engineer Audrey Sobgou beamed as she walked away with one of the prized tablets.

Sobgou travelled 205 kilometres (127 miles) from her home town in Lille, northern France, and waited nearly two hours before stepping inside the busy Apple store to make her purchase.

“I’m not a victim of hype,” she insisted. “I know Apple products and it’s about the quality, the inter