Christmas 2013 (iPad Air, iPad mini Retina 001)

Supply of Apple’s iPad mini with Retina display remains tight as the holiday season approaches fast, a new report has it. The Wi-Fi + Cellular models appear to be in short supply as the device is basically a no-show at three major United States wireless carriers – AT&T, Verizon Wireless and T-Mobile. The three telcos all back-ordered on the cellular version, with shipping estimates slipping to December.

In one instance, T-Mobile is now showing the device back-ordered 6-8 weeks. As for T-Mobile and AT&T, their web stores show 6-8 week and 21-28 day delivery estimates, respectively…

CNET reports:

Verizon, AT&T, and T-Mobile are all back-ordered on the cellular version of the Mini Retina, with Verizon’s date now slipping to December 2.

Last week, Verizon had been saying November 25.

And the carrier isn’t saying when the device may arrive in stores, according to a company spokesperson. T-Mobile is now showing the Mini Retina back-ordered 6-8 weeks.

AT&T is saying 21-28 days for orders to ship.

LTE-enabled Retina iPad mini started arriving to Apple Stores last week.

Previously, Wi-Fi-only models launched with online orders for shipping or in-store pickup, another sign of constrained supply. As a result, customers can’t just walk into a store and buy one, like they can the iPad Air. Worse, cellular Retina iPad minis are now mostly unavailable for pickup by customers who placed orders online.

Back-ordered devices not arriving for at least a couple of weeks is bad news given that the next Friday marks the official beginning of the holiday shopping season in the United States. Apple’s web store at post time gave availability estimate of 5-10 days for cellular Retina iPad minis across all four major US telcos.

The company is pitching the device as the perfect holiday gift.

Supply woes concerning Sharp’s IGZO panels was previously mentioned as the prime reason behind slow production of the device, with an unknown portion of early adopters apparently complaining of image retention issues.

Analysts think that supply constraints won’t ease until early-2014, when shipments are estimated to grow more than twofold, going from just two million units in the holiday quarter to a total of about 4.58 million devices in the first three months of next year.