iPad Mini Creates New Lines in a City Already Suffering Them

New Yorkers and stranded visitors are lining up for the iPad Mini, as thousands less happily stand in lines for gasoline and limited bus and subway services.

Apple's WiFi-only iPad Mini went on sale Fri., Nov. 2.

In the half of Manhattan entering its fourth day of dark apartments and flooded streets, where approximately 226,000 people remain without power following the Oct. 29 thrashing by Hurricane Sandy, Apple Stores remain shuttered.

"We are temporarily closed and hope to reopen soon," says a sign on the Website of Apple's SoHo store, repeating the sentiments of a physical sign outside the actual location.

But from roughly the Empire State Building north—a separate land of warm showers and charged cell phones—people lined up for the first iPad to fit in a single hand.

While residents of New York and New Jersey stood on painfully long lines for buses and subways and much-needed gasoline, at Apple's flagship cube store at the foot of Central Park, the iPad-desirous began lining up as early as 10 p.m. Nov. 1, according to Cnet. The tech site interviewed the person on line—a 21-year-old from Queens who still has no power at home but plans to return with a fully charged white 16GB iPad Mini.

Apple will sell the 16GB model for $329, a 32GB for $429 and a 64GB for $529. In the coming weeks, Sprint, Verizon and AT&T will sell models able to connect to their 4G networks, in white-on-silver or black-on-slate, for $459, $559 and $659.

Earlier reviewers found the battery on the Mini to exceed Apple's promise of 10 hours—of which some users may for now be counting every minute.

According to The New York Times, 84,000 people in Queens are still without power, as are 54,000 in Staten Island, 35,000 people in Brooklyn and 31,000 in the Bronx. Power is expected to be returned to the southern-most tip of Manhattan, around Wall Street, Friday evening, and areas west of Broadway should light up again by Saturday. But many other New Yorkers will have to wait longer.

Carriers in New York and elsewhere also continue to scramble to get their networks fully working again. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) said in a Nov. 1 statement that as of that morning, only 19 percent of cell sites were down—an improvement from the approximately 25 percent immediately following Sandy's arrival.

"This figure includes many cases where cell sites that are otherwise operational are effectively inoperable because of outages in other parts of the communications infrastructure, which is highly interdependent," the FCC continued. "With regards to cable services, it appears that outages have declined to approximately 12 to 14 percent, from initial outage estimates of 25 percent."

Also now on sale is the fourth-generation iPad, which, arriving in the shadow of the Mini and just six months after the third-generation, has received a fraction of the attention lavished on previous models. There's again a 9.7-inch Retina display, but now also Apple's A6X processor—with double the speed of the A5X—and Apple's new Lightning port, which will make it incompatible with older accessories. As with the iPhone, some will find this cause for complaint. Others, however, will have more to worry about.