The mood at Apple's University Avenue store in Palo Alto was celebratory at 9 a.m. Saturday as Apple devotees rushed into the store to get their hands on the game-changing company's newest product, the iPad.
Clapping, blue-T-shirt-clad Apple employees waited just inside the store, shaking the hands of customers who had lined up outside overnight as they entered and cheering whenever somebody left the store with one of the new tablets.
Two lines of people -- one for customers who had reserved an iPad in advance and one for those who had not -- filed into the store one person at a time. Many of the people in line filmed the spectacle with Apple iPhones and other tech gadgets.
A crowd of about 40 spectators, including a crowd of journalists, hovered nearby to chat with and take pictures of new iPad owners.
Tech blogger Robert Scoble bought the store's first two iPads, he said. He held his purchases in the air as he left the store and greeted spectators with a loud cheer.
"It's a new toy. ... We're all excited to go home and have fun with it," Scoble said.
At 9:15 a.m., the line of prospective customers extended from University Avenue down Kipling Street almost to Lytton Avenue.
Rajesh Balwani was in the middle of the line. He arrived at 8:30 a.m., he said.
After purchasing his iPad, Balwani planned to install several applications he created and to see which others were available, he said.
"The bigger screen opens up the imagination. There's so many things you can create," he said.
Those hoping to see Apple CEO Steve Jobs at the 9 a.m. opening were disappointed. But customers in the store at noon weren't. That's when the Palo Alto resident, dressed casually in blue jeans and a black hooded sweat jacket, walked in with his family.
Customers whipped out their iPhones to snap pictures of Jobs. One posted the pictures on his Twitter account.
"This day is turning total epic," he wrote.
Another customer, Andrej Nabergoj, CEO of a Palo Alto tech company, greeted the Apple co-founder and later tweeted about the experience.
"So cool -- met Steve Jobs with wife and kids in the Palo Alto Apple store, he talked to customers and infected everyone with good karma," Nabergoj wrote on Twitter.