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While Apple fans lined up in Asia to get their hands on the iPad mini that went on sale today, the crowds queuing were considerably smaller than for the launch of the iPhone 5 and previous iPads, according to TechRadar. Outside of Apple’s premier store in Tokyo only about 300 people turned up, and even in tech mad Singapore only 20 people spent the night, compared to about 1500 when the iPhone 4S was launched.
There have been many reasons given for this. Online sales seem to have been a major factor and have been very good, as was the fact that the little slate had to be pre-ordered for sale at the stores. Yet the iOS maps fiasco, the ongoing patent war with Samsung and the “sore-loser” attitude could also have contributed. Maybe people are starting to backlash at the bully attitude of Apple, or maybe more people are just getting the online buying trend.
When it launched last week, many reviewers said that the purchasing price would put Apple’s mini tablet to the test against its rivals. “For US$200 you can get a Nexus 7, you can get a Kindle Fire, with similar specs — so you’re really paying an Apple premium here,” Jason Tanz, senior editor at Wired, told CNN. “It’s the first kind of defensive play we’ve seen from Apple in a while. This is the first time they’re kind of playing catch up.”
The iPad mini has some serious competition in the likes of the Google Nexus 7 and Amazon’s Kindle Fire that have established themselves in the 7-inch market already, and the price difference has always been a large (no pun intended) talking point. The Kindle and Nexus sell for around US$200, while the iPad mini starts at US$329. For a start, only models with Wi-fi support will be sold at first, with 3G/4G models becoming available in November.