Apple quietly put the iPad mini up for sale on its Online Apple Store Tuesday. A firm launch date had never been officially announced for the device. Apple is already seeing supply constraints of the device, with some models showing shipping estimates of 5-10 days.
16 and 32 GB models of both Space Gray and Silver Wi-Fi only models are currently showing shipping times of 1-3 days, while the 64 and 128 GB models are showing shipping times of 5-10 days. All colors and models of the Wi-Fi + Cellular models are showing 5-10 day shipping times.
Wi-Fi model prices start at $399 for a 16 GB Wi-Fi model, $499 for 32 GB, $599 for 64 GB and $699 for the 128 GB option. Wi-Fi + Cellular models start at $529 for the 16 GB model, $629 for 32 GB, $729 for 64 GB and $829 for the 128 GB storage option.
Apple kicked off sales of the device without any fanfare at midnight Pacific time in the U.S. This indicates that supply levels may be low for the new device. Apple’s CEO Tim Cook had indicated as much in October, saying: “It’s unclear whether we will have enough for the quarter or not.”
While the Wi-Fi model of the Retina iPad mini does show a “Check availability” link to check availability for pickup at a physical Apple Store, spot checks of various zip codes showed “Unavailable for pickup” when checked. The Wi-Fi + Cellular models do not display a “Check availability” link.
(UPDATE 11/12/13) – Apparently, there will not be any Retina display iPad mini’s available for walk-in purchase at Apple’s Retail Stores, as Apple’s press release states:
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.