Nov. 2 - The crowd at Apple's famed Fifth Avenue store wrapped around the block waiting for the latest gotta-have-it gadget in NYC. But there were definite differences about this launch. Jeanne Yurman reports.
PLEASE NOTE: THIS EDIT CONTAINS CONVERTED 4:3 MATERIAL In many ways the launch of Apple's iPad mini was the same as other product launches... SOUNDBITE: IPAD MINI FAN (ENGLISH) SAYING: "I was here since 3:30 in the morning!" Yet the debut of Apple's smaller iPad, like so many residents on the East Coast, did feel the impact of Hurricane Sandy. Shipments of pre-ordered tablets were held up in storm-hit areas in New York and New Jersey. And two of Apple's lower Manhattan stores remained closed. At the famed Fifth Avenue store there was the usual line that wrapped around the block. However, there were some key differences at this launch: Instead of New Yorkers...the crowd was mostly foreign tourists..many stuck with flights canceled due the storm. (Various people in line.) "I'm from Kiev." "East Turkey, Istanbul." "Manchester." "We're from Sweden." Even Lisa Seiber, a native New Yorker, was just killing time before returning to her current home in Europe. SOUNDBITE: LISA SEIBER, APPLE CUSTOMER (ENGLISH) SAYING: "I was supposed to go back to Germany but I stayed because my mother is 81 years old, 25 floors up and the storm was coming. So I stayed." Tech expert, Lance Ulanoff of Mashable, whose downtown office was still dark, spoke by Skype from his Long Island home. SOUNDBITE: LANCE ULANOFF, EDITOR-IN-CHIEF, MASHABLE (ENGLISH) SAYING: "All of the people who are local have just sort of, they're not there because they're dealing with other things and it's more of the hardcore people who are going to this iPad mini launch with a purpose and that purpose probably is commerce." That is, people looking to merely resell the device. And Apple's usual launch time of 8:00 am was also disrupted at New York stores leaving customers like Queen's resident, Milton Ferreira, confused and upset. SOUNDBITE: MILTON FERREIRA, APPLE CUSTOMER (ENGLISH) SAYING: "Some employees are pissed off too because they said they lied to them. They said it was supposed to be 8:00 and now it's 10:00. So I'm not happy but I'm still going to buy it." Though Ulanoff says you gotta cut 'em a break. SOUNDBITE: LANCE ULANOFF, EDITOR-IN-CHIEF, MASHABLE (ENGLISH) SAYING: "Apple's never dealt with anything quite like this you know at the same point which they've released a product and New York City has never dealt with anything on the scale of this at least not, I mean widespread scale of this and you know its sort of something else basically that's far more important than the iPad mini is going on right now. and I think even Apple would agree with that." Elsewhere around the world, where there was no Sandy, lines for Apple's latest gadget in places like D.C., Hong Kong and Sydney lines were much shorter than usual. Analysts say this may reflect disappointment about its higher priced entry in the smaller tablet market.