Apple rolls out iPad mini in Sydney to shorter lines
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Apple fans lined up in Sydney, Australia, to get their hands on the iPad mini on Friday, but the device, priced above rival gadgets from Google and Amazon.com, attracted smaller crowds than at the company's previous global rollouts.
About 50 people waited for the Apple store to open, where in the past the line had stretched for several blocks when the company launched new iPhones.
Apple Inc's global gadget rollouts are typically high-energy affairs drawing droves of buyers who stand in line for hours. But a proliferation of comparable rival devices may have sapped some interest.
At the head of Friday's line was Patrick Li, who had been waiting since 4:30 am and was keen to get his hands on the 7.9-inch slate.
It's light, easy to handle, and I'll use it to read books. It's better than the original iPad, Li said.
The iPad mini marks Apple's first foray into the smaller-tablet segment, and the latest salvo in a global mobile-device war that has engulfed combatants from Internet search leader Google Inc to Web retailer Amazon.com Inc and software giant Microsoft Corp.
Microsoft's 10-inch Surface tablet, powered by the just-launched Windows 8 software, went on sale in October, while Google and Amazon now dominate sales of smaller, 7- inch multimedia tablets.
Unveiled last week, the iPad mini has won mostly positive reviews, with criticism centering on a screen considered inferior to rivals' and a lofty price tag. The new tablet essentially replicates most of the features of its full-sized sibling, but in a smaller package.
At $329 for a Wi-Fi only model, the iPad mini is a little costlier than predicted but some analysts see that as Apple's attempt to retain premium positioning.
Some investors fear the gadget will lure buyers away from Apple's $499 flagship 9.7- inch iPad, while proving ineffective in combating the threat of Amazon's $199 Kindle Fire and Google's Nexus 7, both of which are sold at or near cost.
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