Hurricane Sandy hobbles Apple iPad mini launch, with NYC stores shuttered in storm's wake
New Yorkers looking to buy the latest version of Apple Inc.'s iPad had fewer stores to shop in Friday, after Hurricane Sandy induced power blackouts, hobbled transportation and left some retail outlets shuttered.
Supplies of the iPad mini are sold out at Apple's flagship Fifth Avenue store, with white and silver models gone within 30 minutes, said Brian White, an analyst at Topeka Capital Markets. Almost 600 people lined up outside the store, according to Gene Munster, an analyst at Piper Jaffray Cos.
Apple, the world's most valuable company, and other retailers are grappling with transportation and supply complications as the New York metropolitan area begins the recovery from Sandy, which made landfall on Monday. Two of Apple's five stores in the city remain closed due to the storm, as are some in New Jersey. Lines at the open locations suggest the weather won't hamper sales, White said.
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"The iPad mini is off to a strong start and we believe this will be the next star in the Apple portfolio," White said.
Amy Bessette, a spokeswoman for Apple, declined to comment.
Apple may sell 1 million to 1.5 million iPad minis in the launch weekend, Munster said in a research note. The iPad mini models with Wi-Fi went on sale Friday in the U.S., priced from $329 to $529 based on the amount of memory. Apple typically announces opening weekend sales figures on the Monday after the debut.
New York is reeling after the largest tropical system measured in the Atlantic inundated transit tunnels and flooded parts of all five boroughs. The storm killed at least 92 people in the U.S., including 41 New Yorkers, and knocked out power to as many as 8.5 million homes and businesses along the East Coast. About 4.8 million customers remained without power, from South Carolina to Maine and as far west as Michigan.