(Updated 4:39 p.m.)
Apple’s new iPad Mini hit store shelves Friday but indications are the lines that greeted its older sibling were not as long in many areas of the country this time around.
From New York City to Palo Alto, Calif., to Atlanta, diehard Apple and iPad fans were at stores before they opened to purchase or just get a feel for the new 7.9-inch Mini. Pre-orders were taken two weeks ago.
Metro Atlanta Apple stores were selling Wi-Fi-only models of the Mini, which is about two-thirds the size of the 9.7-inch iPad, 53 percent lighter and 23 percent thinner.
One local store was telling customers by 2:30 p.m. that they only had black 16GB Minis, having already sold out of black and white 32GB and 64GB models. The Wi-Fi and cellular combined models were expected to go on sale in a few weeks.
The Wi-Fi-only 16GB model sells for $329, 32GB for $429 and 64GB for $529. The Wi-Fi plus cellular models include 16GB for $459, 32GB for $559 and 64GB for $659.
Wall Street analyst Gene Munster of Piper Jaffray told the news media that weekend iPad Mini sales may reach just 1 million to 1.5 million, compared with 3 million iPads sold when it debuted in stores seven months ago.
The price tag may get the blame for some of the lack of retail traffic. There are also other well-established 7-inch mini tablet competitors, with Amazon’s $199 Kindle Fire and Google’s $199 Nexus 7, leading the pack.
At Apple’s flagship store on Fifth Avenue in New York, hundreds gathered outside despite the disruptions all around as New Yorkers continued to deal with the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. The crowd, however, was smaller than the lines for the September launch of the iPhone 5. Still, MacRumors.com said the Mini sold out within two hours.
On the opposite coast in California, lines were also smaller. When one patron showed up at 2 a.m. in Palo Alto he thought he got the day wrong because the sidewalk was empty, according to the San Jose Mercury News.