Tue, Dec 17, 2013 - Page 13 News List

iPad Air, iPad Mini 2 make lukewarm debut in Taiwan

JUST NOT THE SAME:Unlike previous debuts of new Apple products, yesterday’s iPad-series models did not elicit lengthy queues or waiting lists for customers

Staff writer, with CNA

Taiwanese showed less enthusiasm for launches of the iPad Air and iPad Mini 2 compared with launches of new Apple devices in the past, as shown by lines failing to form outside telecom outlets and retailers’ stocks appearing to cover the demand.

Taiwan’s three biggest carriers yesterday began selling the Wi-Fi plus cellular models of the new iPads, which start at NT$11,990 (US$405) for a 16GB iPad Air and NT$9,590 for a 16GB iPad Mini 2 if consumers sign a three-year contract.

Consumer interest in the cellular models, however, was “less enthusiastic” than for the original iPad Mini, which hit Taiwanese stores in January, according to Chunghwa Telecom Co (中華電信), the country’s largest mobile provider.

Supply of the new iPad series was expected to meet consumer demand at the end of the first day of sales, despite limited initial shipments, Chunghwa Telecom said, adding that it had more inventory of the iPad Air than the iPad Mini 2.

Far EasTone Telecommunications Co (遠傳), Taiwan’s third-largest carrier, said it did not find people lined up outside its flagship store at Taipei Railway Station when it opened at 7am, and only a few units of the two models had been sold before noon.

Taiwan Mobile Co (台哥大), the country’s second-biggest telecom operator, did not reveal initial sales figures for the new iPads, but said that the devices are available in its more than 800 stores.

Local distributors said combined first-wave shipments to the three major operators would be limited to fewer than 1,000 units of the iPad Mini 2 and fewer than 5,000 iPad Airs.

The iPad Air is 20 percent thinner and 28 percent lighter than the fourth-generation iPad, while the iPad Mini 2 features a razor-sharp retina display. Both devices run the iOS 7 platform.

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