Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster was at Apple’s flagship retail store at Fifth Avenue in New York City for the launch of the new iPad. And just as he did ahead of the iPad 2, Munster performed a basic headcount to determine the number of people waiting in line to get their hands on the latest Apple tablet.
Munster figures that there were approximately 750 people waiting in line to purchase the new iPad, which is a 37% decrease from the lineup of 1,190 people that waited last year to purchase the iPad 2. Similar reports have surfaced this morning from multiple outlets including Cult of Mac, which suggested that the queues at most Apple retail stores have already dwindled with plenty of new iPad stock remaining. So, why the lower turnout?
As noted by Munster, the launch of the new iPad has been preceded by nine days of pre-orders, which Apple has described as “off the charts.” That’s a clear-cut difference from the iPad 2 launch, which Apple did not take pre-orders for whatsoever. Furthermore, Apple retail stores opened their doors at 8:00 am local time on Friday to start selling the new iPad, which could be an inconvenient time for most iPad buyers to fork over cash for the tablet due to work, school, and other weekday commitments.
While the iPad 2 also launched on a Friday, it was at a more convenient time of 5:00 pm local time. A third and final reason is the availability of the new iPad at several locations. Not only has there been a significant number of new brick-and-mortar Apple retail stores built in the last year, but aspiring iPad buyers might have also chosen to go to their local Walmart, Target, Best Buy, Radio Shack, or Sam’s Club to purchase the new Apple device instead.