EDitorial ± 1-Apr-2010

iPad For iPswich

IPSWICH, England -- April 1st, 2010 -- A Suffolk town today found itself at the eye of a hi-tech whirlwind. As the new financial year started, a rumour swept through the Twitterverse and Blogosphere that Apple, the California computer company, had finally decided to launch its much anticipated iPad product in the UK. In a carefully planned publicity stunt, the story continued, Apple had planted five "Golden Delicious" tickets -- each one redeemable for a brand new 3G iPad -- in and around one particular location in England. That location, it went on, would have "some connection with the product name."

There were shocking early morning scenes at Paddington Station, London where crowds overturned the lockers, and at Padstow, Cornwall where a mob upturned the lifeboat. By mid-morning, attention had switched to Ipplepen, Devon and (St) Ippolyts, Hertfordshire. It was not until lunchtime that Ipswich station reported a dramatic rise in incoming passenger numbers as a surge of Gap-wearing young people battled their way through the automatic ticketing barriers. Police were called to help besieged WH Smith staff who had sold out of the Ipswich / Felixstowe / Woodbridge A-Z street atlas (2005 edition).

Those individuals fortunate enough to exit the station were quick to hail taxicabs with their iPhones and pick the brains of the local drivers for possible or probable locations. Popular destinations included:

  • the Mac Market store (pictured) on Lindbergh Road
  • the Plough, due to its IP4 1AD postcode
  • Brownes Menswear, a suggestion of cabbie Fred Chadwick: "one of the few places in town where you can buy a Mac"

Others went in search of beer, specifically for bottles of Ipswich Bright IPA from St Jude's Brewery, hoping to peel off the label and reveal a ticket, or to the Evening Star HQ to flick through the latest edition of the freebie Ipswich Advertiser. One Twitter tourist, Dave Bell, commented: "We figure these golden slips could be hidden anywhere with an IP address."

Later, online forums speculated that the placement of the tickets had been timed to coincide with the visit of Google's Street View car. A spokesman for the search engine would only make this statement: "It's true that the Ipswich area maps are among the most popular on the planet right now." Bloggers confessed to examining the images inch by inch in the hope of spotting a man with a black polo neck and jeans.

Apple would neither confirm nor deny the story. However, Waterstones staff in central Ipswich believe that thumbing through the O'Reilly manuals upstairs was none other than Kingdom's Stephen Fry.