Last month, Apple announced its new set of iPads, namely the iPad Air and iPad mini with retina display. While the launch of the iPad Air was hyped up, Apple opted to go with a smaller and more subtle launch for the iPad mini with retina display. As of today, the new iPad mini is available in Apple's online store but brick-and-mortar locations will have to wait a little longer to get the device.
Hours after becoming available, the iPad mini with retina display is still set to ship between 1-3 days for Wi-Fi models and 5-10 days for cellular versions. This suggests that Apple must have stocked up on iPad mini units, or demand for the device is not as high as some of the other iPads and iPhones.
While the shipping times have not increased thus far, Apple CEO Tim Cook has acknowledged the fact that some customers may not be able to get the new iPad before the end of 2013. This will likely become a reality once the iPad mini with retina display becomes available in physical stores and supply constraints become obvious.
Since Apple products tend to sell out quite fast, ordering an iPad mini while they are still only available online is probably a good idea. According to some reports, customers are already seeing slightly delayed arrival dates and that will only continue.
According to a leaked document that came out prior to today's launch, the online orders would only be available in a handful of countries. But based upon the launch, it appears as though most customers can order the iPad mini with retina display.
An Important Market
Since the first iPad was released, tablets have been one of the most important markets for Apple, and iPads have been one of its main sources of revenue for the past few years. Even though Android tablets are growing in popularity -- Android phones are now taking over the smartphone market -- many analysts believe that Apple still controls the tablet market in a significant way.
The iPad mini with retina display may not be a drastically different device from its predecessors, but it is enough of an improvement to keep customers coming back. Ross Rubin, principal analyst at Reticle Research, said, "At $399, the new iPad mini is certainly one of the more expensive 8-inch tablets on the market and a few multiples of the price beyond the least expensive Android tablets. However, it includes premium components including the high-resolution display and high-end A7 processor."
Apple is one of the few technology companies that seems to find success even if its devices are more expensive than competing companies. This can be seen with the massive sales of the iPhone 5s as well as with the popularity of the iPad Air and the iPad Mini. It will be interesting to see how the iPad mini with retina display actually does on the market. But if Apple is expecting shortages to occur, it will probably be another successful product.