Christmas 2013 (iPad Air, iPad mini Retina 001)

You can now finally just waltz inside your nearest brick-and-mortar Apple Store and pick up an iPad mini with Retina display, an indication of Apple slowly buy surely catching up to demand, despite the shortages which are expected to ease in Q1 2014.

When Apple quietly and rather unceremoniously put the device on sale on November 12, it limited availability to online orders-only, which customers could either have shipped or picked up personally at a desired Apple Store.

Walk-in purchases were not possible due to high demand up until now, with LTE-enabled models only recently having started arriving to Apple’s retail outlets…

Eric Slivka, writing for MacRumors:

Following a surprise launch last week that saw Apple’s retail stores offering the new Retina iPad mini only for Personal Pickup of online orders, the company’s stores have now begun selling the device to walk-in customers.

Supplies do, however, remain extremely tight, and thus ordering online for Personal Pickup to secure a specific model is still advised. 

Cantor Fitzgerald analyst Brian White corroborated Slivka’s report, writing in Friday’s note to clients that a number of New York City stores have received shipments for walk-in customers.

Apple’s now updated the wording on the iPad retail page to remove mentions of mandatory Personal Pickup requirement, here’s what it reads now:

Buy it now at your favorite Apple Retail Store. Or buy online and pick it up in the store. Either way, we’ll set it up just the way you like.

It seems not all stores offer walk-in sales as Apple is gradually filling up the channel.

Therefore, your best bet is to simply give your store a buzz and ask about Retina iPad mini availability. Since cellular models have only recently arrived in stores, not all capacities, wireless flavors and colors may be available as Apple continues to fine-tune and ramp up manufacturing.

If you’re ordering your Retina iPad mini online, count on 5-10 business day shipping estimates for all models (that’s nothing compared to delivery quotes by major U.S. telcos). Those opting for in-store pickup may find the Personal Pickup option unavailable during the online Apple Store’s checkout process – again, due to the ongoing supply-demand imbalance.

Finally, you may want to track device availability using web tools (here and here).