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Those of you who just woke up needn’t worry, there’s nothing wrong with the Internet today – Apple’s iPad mini with Retina display has indeed made a surprise debut. As Cody told you, the highly anticipated tablet has unexpectedly been available as of midnight Pacific Time on November 12, arriving without too much noise on Apple’s part aside from a quiet website update and a press release.

It would appear that the combination of pent-up demand and production issues prompted Apple to limit launch availability to online orders or Personal Pickup in the case of retail stores, implying you can’t just waltz inside your nearest Apple Store and buy a Retina iPad mini…

Phil Schiller, Apple’s SVP of Worldwide Marketing, said in a media release:

The response to iPad Air has been incredible, and we’re excited for customers to experience the new iPad mini with Retina display.

We think customers will love both of these thin, light, powerful new iPads, and we’re working hard to get as many as we can in the hands of our customers.

Buried at the bottom of the press release is this passage on availability:

iPad mini with Retina display is available to order through the Apple Online Store (www.apple.com) to ship or through Personal Pickup at Apple’s retail stores, and through AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, Verizon Wireless and select Apple Authorized Resellers.

So, while you may be able to walk in and purchase a Retina iPad mini from your carrier or authorized reseller (provided they’re stocked in the first place), it would seem that the initial roll-out at brick-and-mortar Apple Stores is exclusively through the Personal Pickup service for the time being, as Mark Gurman of 9to5Mac pointed out.

After Apple catches up with demand, the device should become available for in-store purchase. “Apple notified its retail employees of the current sales exclusivity to Personal Pickup customers, and Apple’s own retail website seems to imply similar,” Gurman wrote.

iPad mini 2 (Retina, Personal Pickup)

Contrast this to the iPad Air, which was plentiful at launch and available for both Personal Pickup customers and walk-in buyers from day one (November 1).

Apple CEO Tim Cook warned investors on a conference call that the Retina iPad mini could be in tight supply this holiday season:

It’s unclear whether we will have enough for the quarter or not. We know how many we will have, but you really don’t know the demand until you start shipping.

To order your device online with in-store pickup, visit the online Apple Store, choose your Retina iPad mini model, color and storage capacity and you should see Personal Pickup availability information in the right-hand column, right below the green Select button.

At post time Tuesday morning, Personal Pickup wasn’t yet an option.

The iPad mini with Retina display is available in silver or space gray and costs $399/$499/$599/$699 for the 16/32/64/128GB Wi-Fi model, or an additional $130 for Wi-Fi + Cellular variants.

Cellular models are available through AT&T, Verizon, Sprint and T-Mobile in the U.S.

The device is initially available in the United States, Australia, China, Hong Kong (Wi-Fi model only), Japan, New Zealand and Singapore, with other countries to follow in the coming weeks.

When I checked, the 16GB/32GB Wi-Fi models were available in 1-3 business days, or 5-10 days for all other device flavors.

Will you be ordering yours?

  • Jonathan

    I am not surprised.

  • Al

    I gotta “feeling” that stores will have a limited stock of them available on Friday… With it being on sale today, “hopefully” on Friday… I can check them out.

  • Lance Baker

    Ordered mine! Huzzah!

    • Mr. E

      What time did you order it? Midnight?

      • Lance Baker

        Probably around 8:00 this morning.

    • FreeRunner9616

      WHAT COLOR!

  • Yujin

    I had the ipad mini but now it seems like the air has reached a point where is sooo light it doesn’t matter anymore. Sure many will enjoy the mini cause is super light but things keep getting lighter and lighter.

  • A Guy Happy with His iPhone 5

    i cannot choose between space gray amd silver. silber matches ios 7 and sticks out more and shinyer. but space gray looks nice and just is a perect shade of black ive ever seen. nothing like it, its beautiful looking on ipad but im not into it on iphone 5s, in bigger bizel it looks so nice. please help!

    • I’m stuck in the same situation, except with choice of iPhone 5s colour 🙁
      The white frames iOS7 better, and the white/silver back looks the cleanest and best. But the black frames video SO much better than the white, and also the home button, ear-speaker and front-camera aren’t visible on the black, so less distracting.

      I want the black 5s on the front, and the white/silver 5s on the back 😛 too much to ask?!

  • FreeRunner9616

    i cannot choose between space gray amd silver. silber matches ios 7 and sticks out more and shinyer. but space gray looks nice and just is a perect shade of black ive ever seen. nothing like it, its beautiful looking on ipad but im not into it on iphone 5s, in bigger bizel it looks so nice. please help!


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  • MrShutEmDown

    Obviously marketing ploy for the “black friday” sales. I can see there all of a sudden being “more than enough” units in two fridays. They are saying ‘limited supply” so people will say “I can’t wait, I’ll buy the Air”

  • Truffol

    Here’s a conspiracy theory..perhaps Apple limited the production of the iPad Mini Retina during Q4 to encourage consumers to get the iPad Air instead… standard upselling technique?