Right on schedule, Apple's latest pair of tablets are on store shelves. Around the world, that is.
Retail sales of the iPad Mini and fourth-generation iPad began in New Zealand -- where it's already well into Friday -- and are now rolling into other countries.
The launch is Apple's biggest yet for an iPad at 34 countries, up from the 10 that got the company's third-generation model in mid-March.
CNET Australia, which captured some of the early sales action, described the number of shoppers as "far fewer" than for the iPhone 5, with any signs of a queue disappearing within an hour of the store opening.
The device goes on sale in the U.S. at 8 a.m. local time. Despite its lower price, Apple expected to sell fewer units in its opening weekend than the more expensive, third-generation iPad did earlier this year. An estimate from analyst firm Piper Jaffray this morning pegged Apple's opening iPad Mini weekend numbers at 1 to 1.5 million units, down from the 3 million full-sized iPads Apple sold in March.
Nonetheless, analysts are looking beyond the launch weekend, which is likely to be dampened in New York and other parts of the East Coast affected by Hurricane Sandy, saying the product will eventually outsell the full-sized iPad. That trend was backed up some by strong pre-orders for the device, which sold out in about an hour.
"In our view, this is a very strong statement from consumers and we believe iPad mini will eventually surpass sales of the iPad over the next two to three years," said Topeka Capital Markets analyst Brian White in a note earlier today.
You can read CNET's reviews of both devices here: