NEW DELHI The new iPad went on sale in India on Friday minus the hysteria that had marked the launch of Apple's latest tablet in the United States and nine other countries in March.
There were no consumers lining up around city streets and no agonising wait for loyal fans waiting to get their hands on a new Apple device.
"We sold around 12 to 15 of the new iPads today," said Afzal Ahmed, team leader at an Apple Premium Reseller in New Delhi's Connaught Place. "Also, there were nearly 40 which were booked in advance".
"There's definitely not the kind of craze we saw with the earlier iPads."
One reason could be the third-generation iPad is seen more as an improvement, with a high-definition "retina" display and a better camera, than a major innovation.
Raman Kumar, a 31-year-old trader walked in around 7 in the evening in New Delhi's central business district, and bought a white 64GB wi-fi and 4G version -- at 50,900 rupees the most expensive iPad on offer.
But the Apple fan, who already owns an iPhone and a MacBook, said he may not get to use the device that often.
"This is basically for my kids to play games," he said.
A Reuters photographer at a store in Mumbai's posh Bandra district saw a teenager and two executives browsing for the new iPad but said there was little evidence it was going to be a hot-seller.
The new iPad went on sale in India more than a month after the popular tablet computer was available in 10 countries including the United States.
The third iteration of the best-selling device is priced between 30,500 rupees and 50,900 rupees in the Indian market depending on the variant.
The iPad with 16 GB of memory that works only on wi-fi networks is priced at 30,500 rupees, while the one that can operate on both wi-fi as well as fourth-generation (4G) mobile networks costs 38,900 rupees.
The new iPad is, however, not compatible with the 4G LTE network currently available in India and customers will have to make do with the 3G networks.
Bharti Airtel launched India's first 4G network in Kolkata this month and is expanding the high-speed network to Bangalore, Pune and Chandigarh in the coming months.
But the Indian networks are powered by a different radio spectrum band than the ones used by the 4G iPad, which is supported only on the networks of a handful of U.S. and Canadian carriers.
The iPad is the clear market leader globally, and the new version with its faster chips, fourth-generation wireless and a sharper display is expected to cement Apple's lead.
Customers have the option to buy the new iPad in black or white with 16, 32, or 64 GB of memory, and can choose a model that works only on wi-fi or on both wi-fi and 4G.
The company will continue to sell the iPad 2 in India but has slashed its prices, with the 16 GB wi-fi model now available for 24,500 while the 3G version will cost 32,900 rupees.
"The price is a little high, but who cares?" said Hans Deka, 26, a real estate consultant who had seen the device on a recent trip to Singapore. "It's an iPad. I am buying one for sure."
Pricing of the new iPad:
16GB - 30,500 rupees
32GB - 36,500 rupees
64GB - 42,500 rupees
wi-fi 4G models
16GB - 38,900 rupees
32GB - 44,900 rupees
64GB - 50,900 rupees
(Reporting by Aditya Kalra, Anurag Kotoky and Tony Tharakan in New Delhi and Vivek Prakash in Mumbai; Writing by Tony Tharakan)
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