As the holidays approach, Apple's Retina iPad mini supplies have begun to improve, alleviating the supply constraints the product has faced since its quiet November 12 launch.
In the Online Apple Store, Retina iPad mini shipping estimates for all models and capacities, including cellular models, have decreased to 1 to 3 days in the United States, Canada, Mexico, and Asia Pacific. The Retina iPad mini continues to ship within 3 to 5 days in European countries.
The new shipping estimates are a significant improvement from shipping estimates in November, which ranged from 5 to 10 days for multiple weeks before improving to 3 to 5 days in December.
Issues with display yields were reportedly behind Apple's supply shortages, and as a result of the constrained supplies, Apple launched the Retina iPad mini in the middle of the night, offering the tablet solely via its online store and through Personal Pickup. It wasn't until 10 days after launch that Apple began allowing walk-in sales of the Retina mini. Cellular models have been the most constrained, with multiple carriers experiencing back orders on cellular Retina iPad minis in November.
Just a few weeks ago, a report suggested Apple had solved its production problems, allowing it to build up some supplies for the holiday shopping season. Along with shorter shipping estimates, in-store supplies of the Retina iPad mini appear to have improved slightly as well, with several colors and capacities available for immediate pickup in quite a few Apple Stores around the country.
According to an unofficial web tracker, supplies of the 16 and 32 GB Wi-Fi models are widely available, while the larger 64 and 128 GB Retina iPad minis and all cellular minis remain in shorter supply.
Apple’s holiday shipping guidelines now suggest that U.S. customers order the non-engraved Retina iPad mini by December 16 for a December 24 delivery with standard shipping.