After some initial concerns about possible inventory shortages, the supplies of Apple’s (NASDAQ:AAPL) iPad mini with Retina display are steadily improving across various carriers and the Online Apple Store. As noted by CNET, some AT&T (NYSE:T) store locations that previously had no cellular models of the Retina iPad mini in stock are now showing availability. Last week, AT&T had the iPad mini with Retina display back-ordered by three weeks.
Similarly, some Verizon (NYSE:VZ) store locations are now receiving the cellular model of the Retina iPad mini for the first time. The iPad mini with Retina Display was previously listed on Verizon’s website with a shipping availability waiting period of at least ten days.
The shipping estimate times for the iPad mini with Retina display have also dropped on the Online Apple Store. Last week the Apple Store listed shipping estimate times of five to seven business days. Now shipping times for all capacities and color options of the iPad mini with Retina display have dropped to between one and three business days. Many industry analysts predicted earlier this year that Apple would have trouble meeting consumer demand for the iPad mini with Retina display due to production constraints.
“[S]upply of the new mini is going to be ridiculously tight in the fourth quarter,” stated IHS tablet research director Rhoda Alexander in October. “The heart of the problem is supply constraints on the new Retina panel.” Unnamed supply chain sources cited by Korea’s ETNews reported that some of Apple’s suppliers were having issues with a “burn-in” problem in the LCD panel for the iPad mini with Retina display.
Apple CEO Tim Cook fueled the Retina display production problem rumors when he noted the possibility of a supply shortage during the company’s fiscal fourth quarter earnings call. “In terms of the retina or the iPad Mini with the retina display, we’ll start shipping later in November,” said Cook. “It’s unclear whether we will have enough for the quarter or not. We now have mini — we will have but you really don’t know the demand until after you start shipping and so we’ll see how that goes.”
However, Apple now appears to have fully resolved its initial supply shortage problems. If Apple is able to adequately meet consumer demand for its latest compact tablet, the California-based company will likely see record iPad sales during the December quarter. Several consumer surveys conducted by market research firms have determined that Apple’s iPad is high on many holiday shoppers’ wish lists. According to a consumer survey conducted in November by 451 Research’s Changewave service, 72 percent of planned tablet buyers said they will purchase an iPad. Similarly, a Parks Associates’ survey found that Apple was the preferred electronics brand in seven key product categories, including tablets.
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