The new tablet — which includes a high definition retina display, 4G network and 5 megapixel iSight camera — arrived in Apple stores at 8 a.m. in 10 countries.
At the Apple store at 59th Street and Fifth Avenue, the line early Friday morning stretched all the way around the corner along Madison Avenue, police said. Some people waited for hours.
By early afternoon, though, the wait for the new iPad was only about 15 minutes.
"I was very surprised about the line [being so short]," said Danielle Cestero, 19, from Brazil, who waited only 15 minutes before shelling out just under $1,000 on a 64GB model with 4G service, plus a cover.
The new iPad is available in Apple's traditional white or black for as little as $499 for a 16GB model with just wifi and as much as $829 for a 64GB model with 4G.
Apple also lowered the price for the iPad 2, which is now starting at $399.
Besides Apple stores, users can also buy the new tablet at Best Buy, Radio Shack, Sam’s Club, Target and Walmart.
So far, the iPad is available in the US, Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Japan, Singapore, Switzerland and the UK.