While reports have indicated that crowds waiting for the newest iPad were smaller than for previous Apple (AAPL) product launches, some Apple retail stores are still experiencing long lines. Fortune’s Philip Elmer-DeWitt reports seeing over 800 people in line at Apple’s Fifth Avenue flagship store in New York at about 10:00 a.m.[via Fortune] “According to the records Piper Jaffray’s Gene Munster has been keeping since 2008 (see below), that’s more customers than turned out for the iPhone 3G, iPhone 3GS and iPhone 4S.
And by 9:56 a.m. — four minutes before the doors finally opened — [Apple changed the store’s opening time to 10 a.m. for this launch from 8 a.m. previously] I counted 801 men, women and children. Only the iPhone 4 (1,300) and iPad 2 (1,190) drew bigger crowds.”
Topeka Capital analyst Brian White, who this morning in a research note to investors projected sales of 800,000 to 1 million iPad Minis this weekend, is also at the Fifth Avenue store in Manhattan reporting that the store is now completely stocked out of iMinis after just about two hours of sales.[via BI] “As of 11:40 AM ET, both the 16GB and 32GB Black & Slate iPad mini models were sold out at the Fifth Avenue NYC store; while we estimate the 64GB iPad mini sold out at around 12:10 PM ET,” writes White, who thinks that demand for the iPad Mini will “prove to be much greater,” anticipating widespread shortages.
“Based on our recent Technology Tour in Asia, we have indicated that we expect iPad mini supply to fall well short of demand this weekend given the complexity of certain components,” notes White, adding that his firm is “projecting Apple to sell 800,000 to 1 million 7.9-inch Wi-Fi iPad minis over the first three days (i.e., Friday through Sunday); however, demand will prove to be much greater than the sales that Apple will be able to recognize during this period.”
For fiscal year 2013, White is predicting Apple will sell 30 million iPad minis, followed by a forecast of 48 million units sold in fiscal 2014.
Apple shares were down $20.80, or 3.50%, at $575.62 in late trading on Friday.