Though it was tough to find when it first arrived at market, Apple’s new iPad mini with Retina display is becoming slightly easier to come by — as long as you look for it at one of Apple’s retail stores. Otherwise, you’re going to have to wait.
While the Retina mini is now available for walk-in purchase at the Apple Store, shipping times for the device at online retailers suggest that the device is hardly in abundant supply. Indeed, order one from Apple’s online store today, and it will be five to 10 days before you ever see it.
And the wait is significantly longer if you don’t order from Apple. At Verizon, the Retina mini won’t begin shipping until Dec. 2. At AT&T, it is back-ordered for three to four weeks. Sprint advises aspiring Retina mini buyers that their devices won’t ship for “up to two weeks.” And at T-Mobile, which is offering the Retina mini with 200 megabytes of free data every month, it is back-ordered for six to eight weeks.
If you’re unwilling to wait that long, your best bet is to try snagging one in person from an Apple Store. I called a handful of them on Sunday morning and found that most had at least a few Retina minis on hand, though the Wi-Fi-only models were definitely less prevalent. Cantor Fitzgerald’s Brian White, too, has been finding limited supplies of the device in his own Apple Store surveys.
“We are finding broader availability across the country as we contact more Apple U.S. retail stores,” White said. “Apple now appears better positioned to support customers for Black Friday next week; however, we believe supply still remains a wildcard.”
It seems, then, that with Black Friday, one of the biggest shopping days of the year, just days away, Apple is channeling Retina mini inventory for its own brick-and-mortar stores. A wise move, given interest in the device. What better holiday ambassador for the Apple Store than the Retina iPad mini you can’t find anywhere else?