Hundreds waited outside the Apple store in midtown Manhattan, reports CBS News Correspondent Manuel Gallegus.
The highly anticipated launch was fueled by Apple's hype machine. Nobody, says Gallegus, does it better than Apple when it comes to promoting a new product.
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The iPad is a mobile computer. The tablet getting all the buzz weighs a-pound-and-a-half.
There's no mouse or DVD slot. No camera or phone -- at least not yet.
The iPad, says Gallegus, is a handy Wi-Fi window on the world for downloading and using books, music, e-mail and games.
Wired magazine tech writer Steven Levy told Gallegus what Apple wants to do is "create an entirely new category … a brand new category that's different than the computer, that's different than the phone, that's something in the middle."
Levy was big-man-on-campus at Wired this week - he was one of the few to get an iPad in advance.
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He says Apple's goal is to make us change the way we think about computers. "It has a talent," Levy says, "for simplifying what could be very complicated and making it beautiful and boiling it down to the essence of what do we want to do with it."
But do people need another device?
One tourist in New York observed to Gallegus, "It just seems a bit too big for me. I mean, of you're a laptop or an iPod user, this seems to be too much in the middle."
Analysts portray the iPad as an investment gamble for powerhouse Apple, ranked as the third most valuable American company. Its products chalked up $15.7 billion in sales worldwide last quarter alone.
Apple won't say how many iPads have been pre-ordered or how many it expects to sell, but analysts forecast sales of 300,000 to 400,000 this weekend. The real test may come at holiday time, after it's been out awhile.
In the end, Gallegus adds, what may make or break the iPad and drive demand for it are the tens of thousands of applications that have yet to be developed for it.