Without so much as a day’s warning, Apple has started online sales of the new iPad mini with Retina Display, offering an extremely limited set of units for near-term shipping. Only 16GB and 32GB Wi-Fi models are available for shipment in 1-3 days, with all other models shipping in 5-10 days, including higher-capacity Wi-Fi units and all cellular models from any carrier in any capacity.
Recent reports suggested that major screen-related manufacturing issues have constrained the initial rollout of the mini, with one report claiming that the launch would be delayed due to the scarcity of defect-free screens. Apple instead notified resellers via a late Monday message that it would begin sales on Tuesday, then opened its online store to orders at midnight Pacific Time. The Retina iPad mini starts at $399 for a 16GB Wi-Fi model and climbs to $829 for 128GB LTE models; it is available in the same two colors as the iPad Air.
Update: Apple has officially announced availability of the iPad mini with Retina Display. The press release notes the device will be sold online for shipping or personal pickup at Apple retail stores, or through carriers and select resellers — it’s still unclear when the devices will be sold in Apple stores. Apple marketing chief Phil Schiller alluded to the suspected lack of inventory for the device, saying in the press release that “…we’re working hard to get as many as we can in the hands of our customers.”