Top-end iPad Air models hard to get

SINGAPORE - Despite being significantly thinner and lighter, Day 1 demand for the new iPad Air here was not as good as some retailers had hoped.

Two retailers and one telco who spoke on condition of anonymity said first day sales of the iPad Air felt weaker than that of the iPad 3 on launch day over a year ago.

The iPad 3 was the first model with retina display.

One reason was that unlike the iPad 3 launch when many users were still buying their first tablet, most are now replacing their existing ones.

However, some of the iPad Air models were in short supply, particularly the top-of-the line 128GB with 4G one.

SingTel, M1 and EpiCentre had sold out all their 128GB models by 4.30pm.

Early bird Tobias Sternbeck, 38, started queueing at 7.40am at SingTel Comcentre, 20 minutes before the outlet opened.

Even then, he did not get the model he wanted - the 128GB iPad Air with 4G in space grey.

Mr Sternbeck then tried his luck at the Courts outlet at Funan at 10am, only to be disappointed yet again.

"I had to order online in the end," said the managing director of a paper company here.

Mr Cedric Quey started queueing at Courts Tampines Mall at 7.30am. At 9am, an hour before the store opened, an employee told him the outlet did not have the 128GB model. Luckily for him, he managed to find it at Nubox's Tampines outlet at 10am and snapped up the last three units there.

"They said they had only five of these available, so I'm lucky I guess," said Mr Quey, 23, who was buying them for his relatives. Many early birds, however got their desired models without much trouble.

Mr Sunny Loh (top photo), 68, was one of the first Singaporeans to get his iPad Air. He was the first customer in SingTel's Plaza Singapura store at 8am and bought two of the 16GB model.

"I want to get it while there are stocks," said the ex-employee of Apple.

"I'm getting it for my grandson as he did very well in his exams."

Apple said that it will be launching the iPad mini with retina display some time in November, but it has yet to reveal the actual launch dates.

Mr Ben Tan, chief operating officer of Challenger Technologies, said that the iPad mini outsold the last iPad on launch day but the bigger tablet eventually caught up over the year.

"People think that if they need to spend only about $100 to $200 more for the iPad, they might as well go for the bigger one," he added.

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