Apple fans lined up in several Asian cities to get their hands on the iPad mini on Friday, but the device, priced above rival gadgets from Google and Amazon.com, attracted smaller crowds than at the company’s previous global rollouts.
Apple Inc’s global gadget rollouts are typically high-energy affairs drawing droves of buyers who stand in line for hours. But a proliferation of comparable rival devices may have sapped some interest.
About 50 people waited for the Apple store in Sydney, Australia, to open, where in the past the line had stretched for several blocks when the company debuted new iPhones.
At the head of Friday’s line was Patrick Li, who had been waiting since 4:30 am and was keen to get his hands on the 7.9-inch slate.
“It’s light, easy to handle, and I’ll use it to read books. It’s better than the original iPad,” Li said.
There were queues of 100 or more outside Apple stores in Tokyo and Seoul when the device went on sale, but when the company’s flagship Hong Kong store opened staff appeared to outnumber those waiting in line.
The iPad mini marks Apple’s first foray into the smaller-tablet segment, and the latest salvo in a global mobile-device war that has engulfed combatants from internet search leader Google to Web retailer Amazon.com and software giant Microsoft.