VIDEO/POLL: Local retailers prepare for crowds during iPad’s release Saturday

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Video from NBC-2

— It’s been called more intimate than a laptop and more capable than a smart phone.

Apple’s new iPad will be available at all Apple and Best Buy Stores beginning at 9 a.m. Saturday.

And local retailers are preparing for the rush.

John Baron, General Manager of Waterside Shops on Tamiami Trail North, said Apple customers will be allowed to line up outside the store starting at 7:00 a.m. Baron said the store will not allow any overnight parking or loitering.

And according to Jamie Grofik, Mall Manager of Coconut Point in Estero, no lines will be allowed to form outside the Apple Store before 7 a.m. and overnight parking or overnight camping will not be allowed.

Best Buy Sales Associate, Austin Ramirez, heard that customers would be allowed to line up outside of Best Buy on Naples Boulevard at 7 a.m., although Best Buy’s corporate office could not be reached to confirm. Ramirez also said that it has never been against Best Buy’s policy not to allow customers to camp out the night before.

The Best Buy at Coconut Point in Estero could not be reached for comment.

Many Naples residents plan on waiting outside stores Saturday to be one of the first to purchase the 9.7-inch touch screen, which is a half-inch thick, weighs 1.5 pounds and comes with 16, 32 or 64 gigabytes of flash memory storage.

The iPad seems perfect for web surfers and digital media junkies such as North Naples resident, George Oberdorster, who says he will be outside Waterside Shops at 8:15 a.m. tomorrow morning.

“I want to be in and out. I want to be one of the first,” said Oberdorster, 29. “We (Oberdorster and his friend Shane) were like little kids the first day the iPad left the reserves, sitting there clicking away, ordering the new iPad.”

But Oberdorster says two of the three iPads he plans on purchasing Saturday aren’t even for him. One is a present for his lead developer of his new software company and the other, which he plans to use to test his new applications, will ultimately be a gift for the first customer to complete an application on his Web site, featuring iPhone and iPad applications.

The 29-year-old also stood in line for the original iphone.

“I didn’t really mind standing in line,” he said. “It builds up the excitement, especially if you’ve never experienced that technological advance that gives that wow factor.”

iPad lets users browse the web, read and send e-mail, enjoy and share photos, watch HD videos, listen to music, play games, read ebooks and much more.

Apple CEO, Steve Jobs, promises it will connect users with their apps and content in a far more “intimate and fun way than ever before.”

Apple the iPad tightly under wraps until unveiling it in late January.

The iPad is larger than an iPhone but smaller than a laptop. Economists speculated its starting price to be in the thousands but the basic iPad models will cost $499, $599 and $699, depending on the storage size.

All models have Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity built in. Jobs said the device has a battery that lasts 10 hours and can sit for a month on standby without needing a charge.

Apple retail stores will offer a free Personal Setup service to every customer who buys an iPad at the store, helping them customize their new iPad by setting up their e-mail, loading their favorite apps from the App Store, and more. Also beginning this morning, all Apple retail stores will host special iPad workshops to help customers learn more about the product.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

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