The updated version of Apple's iPad tablet computer went on sale Friday afternoon and was greeted by the now-familiar lines of buyers outside Apple stores.
The company opened online sales of the iPad 2 at 4 a.m. Eastern time, well before they became available in East Coast stores at 5 p.m. They were set to go on sale nationwide at the same hour, local time.
At Fayette Mall's Apple Store, a line formed outside the store, which provided customers with free Starbucks coffee during the wait.
When the original version of the iPad went on sale in April, Apple said it sold more than 300,000 in the first day. It ended up selling more than 15 million in the first nine months, including 7.3 million to holiday shoppers in the October-December quarter.
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The new iPad model comes with several improvements over the original version but the same price tag — $499 to $829, depending on storage space and whether they can connect to the Internet over a cellular network — hobbling efforts by rivals at breaking Apple's hold on the emerging market for tablet computers.
The iPad 2 looks much like the first iPad, only with a sleeker, lighter body with a curved back. Among changes is the inclusion of cameras for videoconferencing, one on the front and one on the back.
After its U.S. launch Friday, the iPad 2 goes on sale March 25 in 26 other markets, including Mexico, New Zealand, Spain and other European countries.