Tales from Night of Panther

by Derrick Story

Once again it's time for the annual pilgrimage to your nearest Apple Store to celebrate a new release of Mac OS X. Yes, Friday, Oct. 24 is the evening that Panther hits the streets.

If you don't have an Apple Store within reach, or you're just not a special event kind of person, then you can comfortably order your copy directly from Apple online.

But for those of you who want to get a little more action for your 129 bucks, the "Night of Panther" events are the way to go. Yes, you've heard the stories from years past about Mac faithful getting in line, sharing anecdotes, and checking out others who were just crazy enough to spend their Friday night hanging out in malls across this great land with other OS X gearheads.

So this year, let's make it easy to compare notes.

If you participate in a Night of Panther event, afterward, please post a talkback here and tell us what you saw. How many people? What were they like? What did you talk about? And most importantly, were there any freebies?

Photo buffs can include a link to their site. We don't care if they're just regular snapshots; we what to see what happened in your town. All pictures are welcome as long as they don't include any obscene or offensive gestures, body parts that should otherwise be covered up, or Windows PCs.

if you can't attend a Night of Panther event, be sure to stop by here over the weekend to see what others saw. I'd love to have a report from every Apple Store.

Post your Night of Panther report here. Be sure to include which Apple Store you're reporting about. Please keep it brief and to the point. Include photo links if you can.


2003-10-24 12:55:56
Genius Bar
I live about 10 minutes from the Atlanta Apple Store, but unless the Genius Bar has Bass on tap, I'm afraid I'll miss out on this one. :)
2003-10-24 17:06:12
Hangin' out in San Diego (UTC)
Camper #2 here paitiently waiting for the combination grand opening and OS X 10.3 launch at the new UTC store in San Diego.

So far (T-Minus 3 hours) there is only six of us actually waiting, but I have seen several others roaming around.

The store here is their new smaller format (one short row of software and no theater). I'll get some pictures up in a little bit.


2003-10-24 18:30:51
UTC Update
T-Minus 90 minutes. About 50-75 folks in line. Less than I expected but I'd bet quite a bit of last minute people in the last hour.

Here are some picture.


I also iChat on: mpeay@mac.com

2003-10-24 18:58:07
Checking in from Cleveland
Hi Derrick,

I'm posting from the Cleveland Apple store from a $799 eMac - I don't see what the Windows folks are talking about, there are great deals here.

The store opened this morning. It's almost 10 pm here and the store is packed. Lots of nice folks in line - no wood floors here - stone with the familiar wood shelves. Nice seeing the store finally here. With the new iBook G4 and the other new offerings out (Panther everywhere) - it's a cool night to be out.

Let me let someone else play,

Daniel Steinberg

2003-10-24 19:09:20
Genius Bar
I live 7 minutes from The Apple Store at The Grove, Los Angeles, CA. I probably will attend the Panther distro -- if for no other reason than to give new USB WiFi connector ( DWL-122 ) a test run on Ti PB . Anything eventfull, I will try to report tomorrow. Haven't decided if I really need to give Apple more money for a new operating system which is not that different to Jaguar ... I've managed not to buy any OS yet over the course of my Apple ownership circa 1999, so I may break down and buy it ... or maybe not ...


D-Link DCSS Modem; Asante FR3004LC Router;
PM 1.42G DP 768 Ram SD 2-120G HDs HK Sticks w/iHub 10.2.8; Ti PB 500 512 Ram IRs w/Newton 2100 Pads; and for work built PC (848 AMD Atholon 256 RAM XP Pro).

2003-10-24 19:19:45
My heart is breaking
I just saw a 4-year-old girl start crying because the Disney Store (the previous store that the Apple Store replaced) was gone.

They just put up signage on specials:
Tonight Only- Buy Panther and get 10% off everything else.
Tonight Only- 10% off any Mac.

T-Minus 60 minutes. About 150-200 people.


2003-10-24 20:42:56
Installing on the Spot -- Speed Bump?
I don't know if any of you went to a Night of Panther event with an empty partition on your drive, but if you did and have installed the boxed version, I have a question:

Is it my imagination or does Panther seem faster, noticeably so?

I just installed it on my TiBook 667, and it is humming. Especially the online stuff. This could be a "new OS-induced hallucination." So I'd appreciate some feedback on this.

2003-10-24 20:46:11
UTC Update
Cool Shots! I appreciate the brief descriptions too :)
2003-10-24 20:57:59
Knox Street, Highland Park (Dallas, TX)
I was told that at 8:00 the line went half way around the block. I arrived at 8:20 and had a 10-minute wait to get in; had to wait for others to leave first. There were no giveaways, tshirts, etc. (disappointing - I guess it was just Apple hype!) - everyone could enter the main drawing. Business appeared booming: 6 workers on cash registers; two lines at Genius Bar & two lines at back of store; lines consistently had 20 people in each for over an hour. Saw several presentations. Left at 10:00.
2003-10-24 21:03:24
Local Reseller
I chose to go to my local Apple reseller, MacUpgrades, in Bethesda, Maryland for their Night of the Panther. There was no line, but there were 20 to 25 people in the store checking out Panther and buying products. The store offered wine and cheese along with cookies and beer. It was a great event. I walked out of there with my Panther and two t-shirts (one the Apple official t-shirt and a great t-shirt designed by the store) by 8:20 p.m. I have had thoughts of going back to just hang out with the great local Apple loving community.

2003-10-24 21:12:57
NoP Long Island NY
Though I got Panther this afternoon by FedEx, I thought I'd take the kids and at least enter the drawing for the computer (though some customers were trying to stuff the box). They were selling lots of copies of Panther, and several computers at 10% off. After we hit the toy stores, the line hd gone down, and we got easily in.

Apple was giving out "X" dog tags. Here is my youngest (Donovan) wering his. http://tinyurl.com/saez

(BTW, quite happy with Panther. Yes, there is a speed increase.)


2003-10-24 21:19:41
NoP at MacUpgrades
The MacUpgrades shop in Bethesda had a great event tonight, much thanks to John and Craig for the great time. Lots of great Mac folks (one from MacSlash, one from Apple(!) ) and it was a great time.
2003-10-24 21:32:14
@ Emeryville
I'm at the Emeryville store right now. Arrived about 7 or so, and there were already about a dozen people in line. By 8, I'd say there were well over a hundred.

I just got finished installing Panther at the store here, and there are still people in line. Just amazing ...

2003-10-24 21:47:50
No photos in Indianapolis?
I went to the event tonight at the Indianapolis (Keystone) Store, where I was told by an employee that they wished that I wouldn't take photos inside the store. Outside, in line, that's okay. Just not inside. What's up with that? Is the store layout top-secret now? Are they afraid I'm from Gateway, conducting a little corporate espionage? It's not like you can't find pictures and a quicktime tour of the stores on Apple's own website. It was kind of a sour note to an otherwise fun evening.
2003-10-24 22:39:27
NoP Long Island NY
The dog tag is great (as is the photo). Does it say anything clever on the back of the tag?
2003-10-24 22:41:49
Decisions, decisions...
I really wish I hadn't read about the 10% discount...I just spent 90% more than I was planning to this month.

On the plus side, I now have a dual-2GHz G5, an iSight, and a few other small goodies. Plus, of course, a family-pack of Panther for my other two Macs.

The Chicago (Michigan Avenue) store was moderately crowded, but there were still salesfolk available when needed. I assume the crowd was thin enough because I got there a few hours after NotP began, but it could also have to do with discouraging weather.

They had piles of dogtags to give away, as well as the free mac drawing entry form that I only read in the cab on the way home (!).

Several members of the staff were wearing black velvet cat ears and tails. Anyone notice this elsewhere? Was this a local employee's idea, or chain-wide? I was hoping to snag a set for my fiancee for Halloween. No luck.

Two disappointments, both pretty superficial: First, my G5's box was in far from pristine condition. We decided it had been eaten by some loose Panthers running around in the storage room. Bit of a bummer, because even the packaging is (usually) splendid. Second, they don't provide limos to take our new multi-thousand dollar purchases home. What's a guy gotta do to upgrade from a taxi? Buy the whole store?

Looking forward to breaking everything out of the boxes, right after I take a big exam tomorrow.

Now, what killer app should I start developing?


2003-10-24 22:42:34
Knox Street, Highland Park (Dallas, TX)
What, no freebies? Something went wrong there. Check out the dog tags from Long Island, NY:


2003-10-24 22:47:26
RE: Decisions, decisions...
You know, I don't get to buy new hardware that often. But when I do I'm always dying the night I actually make the purchase. "What the hell am I doing spending that money!?"

Then, about three days later after I'm humming along thanks to my new purchase, I say to myself, "Why the heck did I wait so long to do this?"

I hope you kick ass with your new G5.

2003-10-24 22:49:34
No photos in Indianapolis?
Next time tell them you're on assignment for Mac DevCenter. I don't know if it will help you or not, but at least you'll have a legitimate come back.
2003-10-24 22:50:31
Decisions, decisions...
Oh, and I learned an important lesson. Even a G5 freaks out when you simultaneously launch every program on its Dock. Note to self: Don' do dat.

This may have simply been the first time many of them were launched, but it took me a fair amount of time to get that machine back under control.

2003-10-24 22:55:54
RE: Checking in from Cleveland
It's about time Cleveland got a store. And considering that we still don't have one in San Francisco (under construction though), I guess it's clear who rates and who doesn't ;) But I bet we'll have wood floors here on the left coast...
2003-10-24 23:18:07
Hot in OC
Seven-year-old son Brendan and I counted the line at 7:30 p.m. in the Orange County (South Coast Plaza in Santa Ana, Calif.) Apple store; estimated about 175 people waiting, with the line down the length of the mall. Some 20 minutes later the line had doubled and was out the outer door and looped back in. We went in later, after visits to Ruby's and See's and Border's, and the line was somewhat shorter; the wait was perhaps 15 minutes. The 10.3 necklaces were simple but something of a hit, and the computer raffle box was nearly full by 10 p.m. Good buying action at the counter, and good game action at the kids' eMacs -- about 10 less-than-10-year-olds there despite the hour. Says Brendan, "It was great!"
2003-10-25 04:58:34
Morning of the Panther in Geneva
They decided to do it here in Geneva, Switzerland this morning (Saturday). I went to peek at around 11 am. Sad to say that not much commotion here. About six people stood around browsing. A black silky toy panther was next to a G5.

I asked them if they have a 15" Powerbook with US keyboard. I was told that this can be done only through the website.

2003-10-25 05:32:32
I arrived at one of our two local Apple resellers at 7:45p. There was a group of close to 50 people awaiting the unveiling of Panther. The store had installed copies on their store display Mac's, which were available to all. We received freebie Panther X mouse pads with our purchase. I was told me the store had 115 copies of Panther, and many people were buying multiple copies so sales were "brisk". Mostly a mac dork-o-thon.
2003-10-25 06:26:16
Night of Panther in Michigan
Even though we for our Panther Up-to-Date disks by FedEx, we decided to drive about 50 miles to one of our local Apple stores. We got there bit after 8 pm and the line was quite long, from the store front all the way to the Marshall Fields anchor store. We decided to look at the rest of the mall, the Sommerset Collection in Troy, and then see how the line was. We couldn't leave because our son CJ was so excited to "go to apple store" and "see puters." We got in, wondered around, entered the drawing and got X dog tags. The 10% off was very tempting as my wife's iBook is getting a little slow but we decided to wait. It was definitely fun to experience the event "live" instead of just sitting home and installing the software.
2003-10-25 06:47:59
No photos in Indianapolis?
Hey..I got the same thing in Indy. I got a few anyway...before they stopped me. The most fun I was having was taking picture with my bluetooth enabled phone, then just randomly sending them to various powerbook users sitting along the walls. The best part was watching them try and figure out where they came from (that and trying to figure out who I had sent them to).
2003-10-25 07:08:55
Knox Street, Highland Park (Dallas, TX)
oh. The dog tags were the "freebies"?! oh.
2003-10-25 07:09:35
Lenox Square Mall, Atlanta GA
Got there at 9.00 PM and there were 200 people inline. I got into the store at 10:10 PM. When I came out of the store at 10:40 there were still 50 people waiting outside.
2003-10-25 07:46:22
My heart is breaking
Sorry I didn't update last night. I ended up being first in the store.

- About 20 employees and others for the opening.
- Easily 500-750 by the time the doors opened at 8:00.
- Dog tags were given out on the way in.
- Shirts given on the way out (due to the fact it was also the store opening).

I'll update my pictures after I finish updating my iBook to Panther. ;-)



2003-10-25 07:49:45
NoP Long Island NY
The tags are brushed metal with a small black apple on the front and a large X with the text "Mac OS X Panther v10.3 Worldwide Release" on black on the back.

I'll update my pictures shortly with pictures of them.



2003-10-25 15:20:05
King of Prussia
The line and crowd at the King of Prussia store was great. Got there actually around 5pm or so and had an eMac, iPod, printer and RAM put in a pile for me to pick up later. Got in line around 7:30, lines in the store were long also. Left the store around 9:30 or so, and the line outside was still fairly long.

Only complaint: the X11/XCode Developer Tools disc is nowhere to be found. I guess you actually had to purchase a boxed copy of Panther for this? How do I get my hands on one of these?

Otherwise I feel like a 5-year old on Christmas morning, as I was still using a Bondi-Blue iMac!

2003-10-25 16:52:34
short hills, nj
My wife and I were #1 and 2 in line at Short Hills, NJ. It seems we arrived around 7PM and they were not letting new people in .. it was strange standing behind a rope barrier while people are still in a store.

My copy of Panther had arrived by FedEx earlier, but Sukie was interested in the new iBook as a replacement for her 5 year old G3 PowerBook. (we ended up getting it - a great machine by the way)

The line was at least 250 long by 8pm and many people were buying hardware with the sale. I saw at least 6 dual 2GHz G5s piled up waiting to go out the door and more than a few 20 and 23" monitors.

An interesting change from the Jaguar opening ... no one in line was using an iPod. Last year about 10% of the crowd was listening ... interesting.

Lots of people walked by wondering about the line. The best comment overheard was .. Windows is the Wal-Mart of computing...

2003-10-25 18:20:48
Installing on the Spot -- Speed Bump?
Agreed on the apparent speed bump.

I missed my local Apple Store celebration because I was busy installing Panther on my G4 tower and my 667 TiBook.

I definitely notice a speed bump on network stuff, as well as working in the Finder.

2003-10-25 20:25:44
Oakbrook, IL
20 minutes to get into the store. Staff as usual was very friendly and helpful. There were many new machines going out the door. The best part was a person walking by wondering what was going on. "New OS release". "Just the OS?" He couldn't believe that something like could engender that level of interest. Those are the times I feel pity for the unwashed Windows masses.......
2003-10-25 22:15:31
No photos in Indianapolis?
I came to CA from Canada (no Apple stores there), and was so excited to finally get to go to one. I went to the Grove and had to drag my wife along as she is not impressed with Macs. I was hoping to make a convert of her, but the event was a DISASTER!!! We went into the store and one staff member was a COMPLETE snob. He made me feel as if I was not worth his time. Then I actually bought a little do-dad for twenty bucks and waited outside the store for my wife to come back as she left after meeting Mr. Snob/Genius (more like GeniASS). While I was standing outside the front entrance to the Apple store an employee kid came out (I'm 55 years old and reservedly dressed) and started to converse with me. In the conversation he wanted to know what or if I had purchased anything. I said this little light do-dad and pulled it out of my pocket. Then he says, "Can I see the receipt for that?" "What!" says I, and I find out that his manager made him come outside the store and question me. I never felt so humiliated and angry. I almost said, "F@#% You!!!" But I didn't and I am glad that I didn't lower myself to his/their level. I showed him the receipt (I wished I hadn't and had just walked away shaking my head in disgust) and told him of what I thought of my first-time experience in an Apple store. I'll tell you, I almost asked my wife to take me to a Windoze store and tell her, "Your right, honey, I"M SWITCHING."
2003-10-26 00:16:56
Santa Clara/Palo Alto out of Family pack
Couldn't get into the Palo Alto store last night (line was too long and I didn't want to wait) so went by MicroCenter Sat. AM to pick up family pack of Panther. Only they didn't know what that was (and didn't have it). Okaayy... drive over to Valley Fair Mall Apple store (Santa Clara) only they were all out. So they call to Palo Alto for me - PA says only 2 copies left. Can they reserve one for me? Yes, but come right over. So I head to PA store and fortunately the last copy is reserved for me as the other copy has already gone. Amazing that they would run out of one version of the big new product they are introducting! At two stores no less.

Charles Herrera
Mountain View, CA

2003-10-26 08:56:18
Easier said
I can only imagine the future. If I could see the future I be looking at people just simply walking up to a ported wall with a bunch of ethernet cables and an ATM terminal access point. I walk up, swipe the card, and hook up my laptop up to the high speed transfer cable and within 2 min. I have a Disk Image that reads-
2003-10-26 18:00:34
Panther Party, Apple Store Walnut Creek CA
There were plenty of people but it wasnt a madhouse. The freebies were disapointing: dogtags!

Took a pal who's gonna switch and he had a good time, especially I think he liked the great Panther tour given by an Apple person (sorry lost the note on who -- but good demo!).

Took the camcorder along.

Snapshots at:

QT movie at:

Hope everybody's updates go well.

2003-10-26 18:04:28
Panther Night in Novi, Michigan
The line at the Twelve Oaks Mall in Novi, Michigan, easily reached well over 250 by the time 8:00pm rolled around. They had closed up the store at 7:30, and rolled out the Panther display kiosks, etc, with plenty copies of 10.3 for everybody.
The dog tags were really different. At the May '03 iPod rollout, they gave away black T-Shirts with the purchase of a new 30GB. T-shirts this night would have cut into Apple's already hefty bottom line financial report, I guess.
Saw one guy get some serious saving on a 2.0GHz Dual G5, with a 23 in Cinema Display, iSight, the works. He saved the 10%, and the guy looked like an excited little boy at Christmas time. He was literally shaking.
Anyway, when I left at 9:00pm, there were still many people in line waiting to get in. A lot of people outside the store would come up and ask what the long line was for. I heard everything from "it's probably a new computer", to, "no, it's a brand new laptop rollout", and somebody in line answered "I don't know what it's for, but it looked like something I should check out".
A few glitches with the new 10.3 Operating System so far. I had a kernal panic when the new Disk Utility froze up, and a Force Quit caused a Kernal Panic on my G4 1.0GHz Titanium Powerbook. Mail.app works MUCH better, and the Expose feature is pretty neat, but be careful when you assign mouse setting. A careless mouse can cause Expose to go a little bonkers at times. I also found that I don't want to use File Vault. It makes you assign too many passwords, and makes User Switching not very fast. I turned it off, removed passwords, and now the Switch is very fast, and so cool to watch. An annoying window keeps coming up asking for passwords to perform certain functions, which means having to click out of that, since there is no password. I suspect Apple is already well on the road to 10.3.1 to address some of these issues.

Jim M

2003-10-26 23:38:31
RE: Panther Party, Apple Store Walnut Creek CA
Thanks for posting the movie. As I zip back and forth through it, I get a feel for the activity that night. Looks like lots of buying was going on. Only Apple could turn an OS release into a night of hardware sales :)
2003-10-26 23:44:15
RE: Oakbrook, IL
A bunch of us were talking about this very subject tonight in Santa Clara on the eve of the Mac OS X Conference. The Mac community is really that, and we turn out for events in the way westerners used to help each other raise barns. Yes, it's just a OS release, but it's not that much different than your favorite neighbor getting a new car and everyone on the street coming by to visit and check it out. With so much negativity going on in computing right now, this spirit is a breath of fresh air.
2003-10-27 06:05:23
RE: Oakbrook, IL
I saw a line like that in downtown portland once. Everybody was happy to be in line and were very communal. It was very inviting. As we walked past the line towards the front, we saw the placard that announced the event.

...A scientology luncheon.

2003-10-27 06:09:49
short hills, nj
People don't understand, because it is weird to stand in line when you can stop by tomorrow or next week.

Reminds me of stories from the Soviet Union... people would get into any line that was forming so they didn't miss out on "something big."

There are many examples where standing in line and being happy about it is a bad thing...

2003-10-27 07:39:43
Panther Party, Apple Store Walnut Creek CA
Gee, I like the dog tags. I have a ton of T-shirts, and don't need a mouse pad.

And they fit my kids. :)


2003-10-27 08:00:57
RE: Oakbrook, IL
Ah, very clever. And I suppose you thought the Waltons were really a cult in disguise...
2003-10-27 08:06:04
re: short hills, nj
I think you're missing the point of it all together. If you read these talkbacks, for example, some of the participants already had Panther and went down to the store anyway.

Not because they were afraid they would miss out on something, but to hang out with others who appreciated the same things in computing that they did. And maybe to be lucky enough to win a drawing.

I think it's an interesting commentary on our times when some people seem to find something negative to say about the even most harmless fun things.

2003-10-27 09:24:00
Night of the Panther at Willowbend mall in Plano, TX
I arrived there at about 8:30 and there was a pretty big line to enter. I estimate that 300 to 400 people showed up. It took me 30 minutes to get in. While waiting in line, I took the opportunity to fill out the form to enter for a chance to get a iMac.

The store was packed and there were at least 20 apple employees in there to answer questions. Several Mac's were setup where you could play with the new OS. They also had a big screen setup where one of the Apple reps demonstrated the features of Panther and cycled throug the demonstration every 30 minutes. It was OK, but it did not go into some of the finer details.

Everyone that came got a set of dogtags with the Panther OS X logo on one side and the Apple logo on the other side. The side with the Apple logo had a brushed metal look. A nice souvenier to be had.

I meant to take some pictures, but the battery in my camera was not charged enough to do the job.


2003-10-29 22:13:07
NH Event
Went with some friends to the opening at the Rockingham Park NH store. Got there about 7:50pm. Waiting in line, filled out the entry form. When we finally got in, we noticed they have a giant cardboard G5 hanging from the ceiling. It'd look good on the wall behind my real Dual G5. Walked around for a while, hunted down the little box for our entry forms. My friend bought an iSight.

On the way out, the girl at the door asked if we wanted the dog tags. We grabbed one, and she said "take some for your friends, take as many as you want. I have 4 boxes of them..." So we grabbed a handful.

The next morning, I received a call from the store -- I won the 15" iMac! Woo! 6 to 8 weeks before I actually see it, but yippie nonetheless!