Monika Merkyte from London with her new iPad mini at the
Apple store in Covent Garden, London. REUTERS/Suzanne
Apple's iPad mini hit stores around the world todat,
attracting sparser crowds than previous Apple launches, but the
kickoff still drew hundreds of New Yorkers only days after one
of the biggest storms to hit the United States.
A proliferation of rival gadgets aimed at the holidays and
cheaper tablets from Google and Amazon may have sapped
interest in Apple's latest bet, resulting in shorter lines
outside stores from Tokyo and Amsterdam to Sydney and Hong
The 7.9-inch iPad mini marks Apple's first foray into the
smaller-tablet segment, and is the company's first major new
device since the death of its co-founder, Steve Jobs, last
In Manhattan, crowds braved crippled public transit and an
early morning chill to line up outside Apple's Fifth Avenue
flagship store just two blocks from where a damaged crane
dangled from a high-rise building - a stark example of how
superstorm Sandy ravaged the city.
Some turned up on impulse, lacking power and heat at home.
Lisa Sieber, 59, from Germany, rode a bicycle to the store
because she said she was going "stir crazy" at her
81-year-old mother's home in Manhattan's Lower East Side.
"There's not much to do without power and lights," she said.
"I didn't think I needed an iPad but once you get your first
Mac, you slide into the iPhone and the next one and it makes
it easy to get more Apple products."
While the city was still grappling with Sandy's unprecedented
devastation, some New Yorkers were angry that Apple delayed
the store's opening until 10am.
"Usually it's 8am," said Vincent Leroy, 27, a student from
Long Island City in Queens who showed up at the store at
6:30am. His friends complained loudly in unison when he told
them he had found out about the delayed opening.
On the US West Coast, fewer than a hundred people thronged
Apple's new outlet in Palo Alto, California, near the
company's Cupertino headquarters, and staff appeared to
Shares of Apple, which hit an all-time high in September,
slid as much as 2.7 percent on Friday to $580.14, their
lowest level in more than three months. The shares were down
2.5 percent at $581.65 in late afternoon.
When Apple's flagship Hong Kong store opened on Friday, staff
appeared to outnumber those waiting in line. In Amsterdam two
hours after the store opened, it looked like a typical day,
with no lines outside. An Apple employee told Reuters that
people had lined up ahead of the store opening.
There were queues of 100 or more outside Apple stores in
Tokyo and Seoul when the device went on sale. But fewer
people turned up in Sydney than for previous iPhone launches.
"It's so thin and light and very cute - so cute!" said Ten
Ebihara at the Apple store in Tokyo's upscale Ginza district.
Reviewers have applauded Apple for squeezing most of the
iPad's features into a smaller package that can be
comfortably manipulated with one hand. But at $329 for a
Wi-Fi-only model, the iPad mini is a little costlier than
predicted, though some analysts see that as Apple's attempt
to retain premium positioning.
Some investors fear the gadget will lure buyers away from
Apple's $499 flagship iPad, while proving ineffective in
combating the threat of Amazon's $199 Kindle Fire and
Google's Nexus 7, both of which are sold at or near cost.