NYC iPad line: Shorter than iPad 2, longer than expected by Philip Elmer-DeWitt @FortuneMagazine March 16, 2012, 1:22 PM EDT E-mail Tweet Facebook Google Plus Linkedin Share icons An analyst offers 3 reasons that 750 customers at 8 a.m. was “strong start” Fifth Avenue iPad line. Photo: Ryan via AppleInsider Piper Jaffray’s Gene Munster flew to New York City for Apple’s AAPL launch of the new Pad Friday morning and counted 750 people waiting in line outside the big glass cube on Fifth Avenue when doors opened at 8 a.m. He declared it a “strong start” despite the fact that Friday’s headcount was 37% lower than the 1,190 he counted at the same store last year for the launch of the iPad 2. “We expected the line to be shorter than 750,” he wrote in a note to clients Friday morning, and offered three reasons: The launch was preceded by 9 days of pre-orders that Apple had described as “off the charts.” There were no pre-orders for the iPad 2. The new iPad went on sale at 8 a.m., compared to the more convenient 5 p.m. launch of the iPad 2. This was the first Apple product launch since the opening of the huge Grand Central Terminal store, which may have funneled some of the customer traffic away from Fifth Avenue.