Saturday, November 03, 2012

iPad mini debuts to mini(scule) lines compared to prior launches

The iPad mini and fourth generation iPad launch drew smaller (perhaps mini?) crowds then prior iDevice product launches. We saw the evidence first hand ourselves, as an Apple store which had long lines for the "new iPad" and the iPhone 5 had a total of five people in line by the time the store opened at 8 a.m. PDT on Friday.

Apple stores typically roll out the red carpet for those waiting, including coffee, snacks, and rah-rah activity. The red carpet was still rolled out, but we could tell the employees were taken aback by the lack of enthusiam - and lack of lines.

It wasn't just one store, either. While reports are that the Tokyo and Seoul stores had lines of about 100, in general the lines were far shorter than for prior device launches.  Apple's Palo Alto store, long considered its flagship, had a total of 14 people in line according to radio reports.

In addition, a look at the device IDs that Apple has assigned to the devices shows what the company things. The iPad 4 has a device ID of iPad3,4. Since the "new iPad" or iPad 3 had a device ID between iPad3,1 and iPad3,3, that goes to show you that Apple agrees with most: the changes from iPad 3 to iPad 4 are minimal.

The iPad mini also has an interesting device ID. It is iPad2,5, which places it one digit past the revamped iPad 2, at iPad2,4.  The iPad mini is a 7.9-inch tablet, designed to compete with similar Android tablets at a lower price than the standard iPad. We covered the iPad mini and the revamped iPad 4 in detail, earlier.

The iPad mini and iPad 4 went on sale in 34 markets on Friday, but in wi-fi only form, so that might explain the somewhat tepid response. It was available for pre-order beginning on Friday, Oct. 26, and while pre-orders to be delivered today sold out during the first weekend, it is unclear how many were available in that first lot.

Piper Jaffray’s Gene Munster, a key analyst that covers the tech giant, said he expects about 1.5 million to be sold this weekend, while the iPad 3 sold 3 million during its launch weekend. The device's LTE-enabled siblings don't ship until sometime later in November, with Apple continuing to use the vague "mid-November" timeframe.

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