Andrew Collins had a special reason to queue outside the Yoobee computer store in Newmarket from 5.30am yesterday to buy the latest iPad model.

Before his 40-year-old sister Clare died on Tuesday, she made him promise her to buy the new version of the tablet computer for her two sons, aged 10 and 12.

It was an emotional day for Mr Collins, who lives in Australia. He was the first person in the queue, waiting in the rainy conditions all day for the 5pm launch of the upgraded model.

"Even if I was 10th in the queue it wouldn't have mattered, but to come out the door with the first one and hear the crowd cheering was very uplifting," said the 46-year-old.

"And especially for the reason I'm getting them today."

He had made friends with his neighbours in the queue and they had a place-holding system worked out for food and toilet breaks.

"We've been talking all things Apple today."

Rick Webb, chief executive of Yoobee, said there were about 500 people queued up at the Newmarket store and similar scenes at the company's other 10 stores.

While many of those people were devoted gadget buyers, Mr Webb predicted the iPad 2 to reach a much bigger share of the general public than its predecessor.

"We're seeing a massive uptake and shift into business. We're finding a lot of business applications emerging quite frequently.

"I think iPad 2 just takes the corporate client along like they've never been taken along right now. The uptake is huge, it's not just a consumer device anymore."

A shop assistant at a JB HiFi store in Wellington said there had been a constant stream of people asking about the iPad.

"We haven't even seen it, we don't know how many we're getting, but there'll be big demand you can bet," said the assistant.

Another prospective buyer, 22-year-old student Ian MacDonald, said he had held off buying the first generation iPad because it lacked a camera and he wanted any bugs ironed out.

"This version looks way better, with the cameras and it beats all the other tablets because there are so many apps (applications)," he said.

The iPad 2 has flown off the shelves in the United States leaving the company struggling to meet demand.

Analysts say one million devices may have been sold in the first weekend of the launch in the United States, but many warn that it's not clear how supply constraints will affect availability after the Japan earthquake and tsunami.

New to iPad 2
* The iPad 2 is roughly two-thirds the thickness of the original, and 88 per cent of its weight.

* Two cameras, one facing front and one facing rear.

* Faster, dual-core processor.

* Optional extras, including a protective cover that is hinged by magnets.

* Same display specifications.