November 12, 2013
Apple Stores Begin Selling iPad Mini With Retina Display
Brett Smith for redOrbit.com - Your Universe Online
Observers said the stealthy release was probably done due to supply concerns as evidenced by some versions, 64GB, 128GB and all Wi-Fi + Cellular, shipping in five to ten days – compared to the one- to two-day estimate for 16GB and 32GB Wi-Fi-only models.
Apple CEO Tim Cook admitted during a quarterly earnings conference call in October that inventory might be tight through the end of the year.
"It's unclear whether we will have enough for the quarter or not," Cook said. "We know how many we will have, but you really don't know the demand until you start shipping."
He added that Apple will do "fairly well" for total iPad sales this quarter, at one point musing that it would be "an iPad Christmas."
On Monday, Apple notified technicians and resellers that the Retina mini would be released on Tuesday in Australia, China, Hong Kong, Japan, New Zealand, Singapore and the United States. While the device is available in the Online Apple Stores for consumers in those nations, Apple is not making it known if the iPads are available in brick-and-mortar stores.
Before the launch, the Apple online store was temporarily shut down. Upon reopening, the Retina iPad mini was prominently displayed on the front page of the store. The re-launched site also features holiday-season design elements, including custom ads designed for Christmas shoppers.
The newest iPad Mini is currently available in space grey or silver and features Apple's A7 processor. According to AppleInsider.com, which reviewed the device in October, the A7 processor is a significant upgrade for the iPad Mini.
“It's an unexpected leap for the new iPad mini, which is now more than 4 times as computationally powerful as its predecessor,” wrote Daniel Eran Dilger in his review. “The chip isn't just more powerful however; it's also very efficient, providing the GPU muscle to power a Retina Display resolution without the power demands of the A5X or A6X.”
Dilger noted that many third-party developers have already lined up to take advantage of the Mini’s bigger processing muscles.
Despite rumors that the new iPad Mini will be dogged by supply issues, Apple executives have said they are on track for a healthy year of sales. Company executives said that Apple beat its own internal iPad sales expectations for the quarter that just ended in September. They added that total iPad sales were at more than 14 million for the latest three-month period, a slight increase over the previous year.
In the October conference call, Cook said his company isn't particularly focused on unit share when it comes to sales, adding that customer satisfaction is a bigger priority.
The starting price for the new 7.9-inch Retina display iPad Mini is $399 in the US. From the cheapest 16GB Wi-Fi-only model, prices tend to increase in $100 increments: $499 for 32GB, $599 for 64GB and $699 for the new 128GB option. For the company’s Wi-Fi + Cellular versions, prices start at $529 for the 16GB model and follow a similar $100-increment pricing model.