Carriers Feel iPad Mini With Retina Display Supply Pinch

Source: Apple.comWill shoppers looking for Apple’s (NASDAQ:AAPL) cellular iPad mini with Retina display this holiday shopping season be left empty-handed? Delivery dates for the cellular versions of the iPad mini with Retina display have recently been pushed further back at several major carriers in what appears to be a sign of extremely limited supplies, reports CNET.

Verizon (NYSE:VZ) is now stating that the cellular version of the iPad mini with Retina display will ship by December 2. As noted by CNET, the carrier was previously reporting that the device would ship by November 25. AT&T (NYSE:T) is informing its customers that it may be three to four weeks before the iPad mini with Retina display will ship. Similarly, T-Mobile (NYSE:TMUS) is showing estimated backorder times of six to eight weeks. Despite the backlog, Apple’s official website is still showing shipping availability dates of five to ten business days for AT&T, Sprint (NYSE:S), T-Mobile, and Verizon.

Although the 3G and 4G versions of Apple’s latest compact tablet were available in-store at most Apple Stores after its initial release on November 12, supplies appear to have diminished as demand for the popular device has grown. Apple senior vice president of worldwide marketing Philip Schiller appeared to hint at the possibility of supply constraints in the iPad mini with Retina display release announcement. “We’re working hard to get as many as we can in the hands of our customers,” stated Schiller.

Various industry watchers and analysts have been predicting that Apple will have difficulty producing enough Retina iPad minis to meet the expected consumer demand during the holiday shopping season. According to “current supply data” recently cited by market research firm IHS iSuppli, the Cupertino-based company may ship less than 3 million Retina iPad mini units in the fourth-quarter. IHS iSuppli claimed that number is approximately one-third the amount of first-generation iPad mini units that were shipped in the fourth quarter of 2012.

“Supply of the new mini is going to be ridiculously tight in the fourth quarter,” stated IHS tablet research director Rhoda Alexander. “The heart of the problem is supply constraints on the new Retina panel.”

According to unnamed industry sources cited by Korea’s ETNews, some of Apple’s suppliers are having issues with a “burn-in” problem in the LCD panel for the iPad mini with Retina display. The problem is reportedly caused by a malfunction of the TFT, or thin-film-transistor. As noted by Apple, the new iPad mini display packs all of the pixels found in the 9.7-inch iPad Air model into a 7.9-inch screen, giving the small tablet an unprecedented 326 pixels per inch.

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