Apple, the company that is famous for attracting long lines to product launches like the iPhone or iPad at its retail stores worldwide, is in the news today for a similar reasons, but with a twist: the length of those lines, for once, were actually below many expectations.
“The turnout for Apple’s release of the iPad Mini on Friday morning was — just like the new 7.9-inch tablet — noticeably downsized,” Heather Somerville reported for Mercury News.
The lines were still there and they were still longer than any other company is usually able to attract, but there were significantly less than people than compared to, say, the iPhone 5 launch day. The Palo Alto Apple Store had about 35 eager iPad mini buyers lined up outside of its doors at 7:30 a.m. this morning, one half hour before it opened.
One customer, Brad Peterson, arrived at 2 a.m. to find that he was first in line. According to him, arriving around that time usually puts him somewhere around the middle of the line by the time the store opens.
Let’s speculate. Why are the lines shorter? Is it because people don’t find the iPad mini and fourth-generation iPad compelling? Is it because people don’t find the prices of either device compelling especially with increased competition from Google? Is it because people finally discovered the Internet and the ability to purchase these items online without waiting in a ridiculously long retail store line?
Me, I’d say it could be because current iPad owners are probably happy enough with the 9.7-inch iPad that they don’t want to wait in line for a mini version of it unless they seriously think the regular-sized iPad is too big. Plus, most of the people in those lines aren’t new buyers of Apple’s products.
What do you think is driving the smaller-than-usual Apple store lines? Leave a comment below.
Update: Fortune writes that perhaps the reports of shrinking lines are “premature.” At the Fifth Avenue Apple Store in New York, NY, there was an apparently near-record-breaking 800 people present for the iPad mini launch. That’s especially impressive considering much of the city is still suffering from the effects of Hurricane Sandy.