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Apple's Tiger unleashed in San Francisco

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Mac

Among the 200 or so people that lined up for more than a block outside Apple's downtown San Francisco store was Austin Liu, a freelance Web designer and student. Liu, who admits to being "caught up in the whole "'Cult of Mac'" said there is something undeniably cool about all things Apple.

"Microsoft could never get a crowd like this," said Liu. Liu took a swipe at Microsoft, joking that far fewer will show up "when Microsoft finally releases Longhorn or Longtime or whatever it is," referring to the next version of Windows, due out next year.

Library supervisor A.J. Real turned out with two friends to snag a family pack of Tiger, a $199 version of Tiger that can be used on up to five computers in a household. Single copies of the OS, which features improved searching and other features, sell for $129. Real and friends found themselves about 35 people back in the line, which began forming around 4 p.m.--two hours before Tiger went on sale.

"We got here at 3," Real said. "Then we got hungry."

By the time the doors opened, the line stretched for a block down Stockton Street, past storefronts for Benetton, Fossil, Armani Exchange and Crate and Barrel.

At the front of that line was Mario Ortiz, a graphic designer for the Gap.

"I hope I win something," said Ortiz, who was trying to win a PowerBook or iPod, one of several prizes Apple was handing out to mark the big event. Ortiz had ordered a copy of the new OS on Amazon.com, which was offering a $30 rebate, but cancelled the order to get his hands on a copy sooner.

James Rice, a freelance educator and part-time Starbucks employee, said he already ordered his copy of Tiger, but turned out, 12-inch PowerBook in tow, just for "the spectacle of it all."

Not everyone was impressed.

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