Apple iPad Air Hits Stores - InformationWeek

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10:49 AM

Apple iPad Air Hits Stores

Apple's latest tablet is now available at Apple, Best Buy, Target, and Walmart stores, starting at $499.

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Apple retail stores opened at 8 a.m. Friday to eager tablet buyers looking to get their hands on the latest iPad. The iPad Air, a new version of Apple's full-sized tablet, is available starting Friday; the iPad Mini with Retina Display won't be available until later this month.

The iPad Air is available to consumers in a wide range of countries, including the U.S., Australia, Belgium, Canada, China, Germany, Italy, Japan, Puerto Rico, Spain, Switzerland, and the U.K., among many others. The new tablet features a brand-new design that is slimmer and lighter than last year's model. It lost nearly an inch in width and one-third of a pound in weight. It still has a 9.7-inch, 2024 x 1536-pixel Retina display, which is capable of displaying HD content.

The iPad Air comes in black and white and is powered by Apple's 1.4-GHz dual-core A7 processor with the M7 coprocessor. It has 1 GB of RAM and storage between 16 and 128 GB. The tablet includes front and rear cameras (1.3 megapixels and 5.0 megapixels, respectively) and a number of sensors, and, if you don't mind spending a bit more money, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, GPS, and 3G/4G cellular radios.

[ Is Apple's fifth-generation iPad a game-changer? Read Apple's Next iPad: Gateway To Mobile Revolution. ]

The 16-GB Wi-Fi model costs $499. Pricing ranges up to $929 if you choose 128 GB and cellular radios. Walmart and Target are selling the 16-GB Wi-Fi iPad starting at $479 -- a $20 discount. Apple stores may match that price for customers who ask for it.

Lines formed in several locations, though fewer than in years past. CNN points out that there were people waiting at stores in Amsterdam, Sydney, and Tokyo. CNN also noted that only 419 people were in line at the 5th Avenue store in midtown Manhattan. Its data suggests this year's line was half the size of last year's when the iPad Mini launched and just 35% of when the iPad 2 launched.

InformationWeek scouted out one Apple store in New Jersey, and there was no line at all. The new iPad Air was selling briskly, however, with one going out the door every couple of minutes based on our observations.

Apple, which shipped 14.6 million iPads during the second quarter but 14.1 million during the fourth, needs to move some iPads this weekend and throughout the rest of the holiday quarter. The company has recently lost ground to inexpensive tablets running Google's Android platform, but the new iPad models could help it recover its market share. If Apple moves more than one million units over the course of the first weekend, it will likely announce this on Monday morning.

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D. Henschen
D. Henschen,
User Rank: Author
11/4/2013 | 10:05:12 PM
re: Apple iPad Air Hits Stores
This is a purely anecdotal observation, but I've seen stories about flattening traffic at Apple stores and I've seen no stories about people camped out overnight in order to be the first in line to buy the new phone. The frenzy days seem to be over. Perhaps that's the price or perhaps it's just, ho hum, another release of the iPad.
Michael Endler
Michael Endler,
User Rank: Author
11/4/2013 | 8:49:39 PM
re: Apple iPad Air Hits Stores
It's definitely pricey. I'm considering getting an iPad Mini, but unless I find a wad of forgotten cash buried in my couch, I don't think I could justify the Air. But I'm okay with that; in the past, I've preferred the Mini form factor to the full-size ones. The bigger screen gives you more flexibility-- but for a lot of the tasks where that's useful, I'd most likely jump to a real laptop anyhow. People who spend more time on tablets might feel differently. Apple seems confident that there's a market for premium devices, and that as long as it owns that market, it's in good shape. Initial Air activation murmurs seems to validate the strategy. But yeah, pricey.
User Rank: Ninja
11/1/2013 | 6:37:39 PM
re: Apple iPad Air Hits Stores
Does anybody else think that the iPad is pricey? ( For instance, the 16 GB with wifi and cellular radios: $629
Moreover, shouldn't be the wifi, gps and cellular already be a standard feature?
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