The iPad’s international appeal

Some people traveled half way around the world to be in New York for the iPad launch

Rainer Vermaak. Photo: PED

So I’m standing in the fast-growing reservation line outside Apple’s (AAPL) Fifth Avenue Manhattan store and I’m surrounded by people speaking English in foreign accents.

On my right are two guys from Haifa, Israel, and a couple from Luxemburg. Behind me is a guy from Holland. On my left are a young man and his dad from Birmingham, England. On their left is Rainer Vermaak, 41, from Pretoria, South Africa, who is buying two iPads — one for himself, and one for the tech reporter at a local radio station.

All of these people made their travel arrangements right after Apple announced the iPad launch date. They all came for the same reason: it  could be months before the iPad is available in their home countries, and when it is, the price is certain to be higher.

Vermaak, who coaches rugby for Harlequins, one of the oldest rugby clubs in South Africa, says he’s got the best reason of anyone here to  buy an iPad. He’s going to store video clips of rugby games on it so he can show the players what they’re doing right and what they’re doing wrong.

“You wait,” he says. “In a few years, all the NFL coaches will be carrying iPads.”

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[Follow Philip Elmer-DeWitt on Twitter @philiped]

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