In a quiet iPad refresh this week Apple removed the iPad mini 2 from its website in favor of a more affordable 9.7-inch model. The newly released iPad replaced not only the iPad Air 2, but it is also now the cheapest available model starting at $329. The iPad mini 4 remains as Apple's last remaining 7.9-inch tablet.
iPad mini 2
There have been all kinds of rumors about the future of Apple ever since the company posted its first decline is sales in 2016. Apple saw a slump across all product lines, but the iPad has seen the biggest slide as interest in tablets has slowly declined over the years. This and the introduction of larger handsets have made many ponder about the fate of Apple's 7.9-inch tablet, the iPad mini.
The last iPad mini model was released over a year ago on September 5th. Apple has since released two iPad Pro models, but there hasn't been much chatter about a fifth-generation mini in the rumor mill. Some analysts believe that Apple plans to discontinue the smaller tablet since its sales are being cannibalized by the larger iPhone Plus models.
Several outlets are reporting that the iPad mini with Retina display is available for walk-in purchases at a few Apple retail locations. Up until now, the second-generation tablet was only available through Apple.com, with the option to have it shipped to the nearest Apple store for in-store pickup.
Apple has since removed any mention of Personal Pickup from its iPad page, and the new device has been spotted for sale at a number of New York City stores. However, supply is still very limited, and you should order now if you plan to receive an iPad mini before the holidays... Especially if want a cellular model.
If Apple's iPad mini with Retina display is on your holiday shopping list you better buy it right now. The 7.9-inch tablet is heavily back-ordered and shipping times could grow longer as the holidays get closer. As of right now most Apple stores are not offering the cellular model for in-store pickup, and individual carriers like AT&T and T-Mobile are quoting up to 6-8 week delivery times.
Verizon has also pushed its iPad mini shipping date back from November 25 to December 2, and Apple's online store is estimating cellular versions will ship in 5-10 business days from all five major US cellular providers. Meanwhile the Wi-Fi only models are more readily available.
The second-generation iPad mini features a 1.2MP front-facing FaceTime HD camera capable of taking 720p HD video and making FaceTime video calls. It is also equipped with a 5MP rear-facing iSight camera with face detection and autofocus.
Apple has officially announced that the second-generation iPad mini is now available to order through the Apple Online Store. This means the new iPad mini is still not available at Apple retail locations. Instead customers must order their tablet through www.apple.com and have it shipped to their home. Shipping times are currently listed at "1-3 business days."
Customers can also opt to have their iPad mini delivered to an Apple retail store, or to the AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, Verizon Wireless location of their choice.
At midnight Pacific Time on November 12th, Apple quietly began accepting pre-orders for the Retina iPad mini in the United States, Australia, China, Hong Kong, Japan, New Zealand, and Singapore. The device, which was announced at last month’s Apple event, was never given an official release date other than sometime in November. The sudden, silent release caught many by surprise.
Mac Rumors suggests the reason for the quiet debut can be attributed to “display production issues.” The site alleges supply will be “extremely low” and there will not be enough of “the tablet to meet demand.” In store pick-up is currently unavailable, and shipping estimates of the new mini are estimated at “one to two days for 16GB and 32GB Wi-Fi models, while 64GB, 128GB and all Wi-Fi + Cellular versions ship in five to ten days” according to Apple Insider.
None of Apple's tablets feature Touch ID. Touch ID is currently only available on the iPhone 5s.
Touch ID is Apple's new fingerprint passcode system that iPhone 5s owners can uses instead of a password to access their device.
Apple CEO Tim Cook all but confirmed rumors that the iPad mini with Retina display will be in short supply after its "late November" release. Cook told investors that he wasn't confident Apple would be able to make enough second-generation iPad minis for the 2013 holiday shopping season.
"It’s unclear whether we will have enough for the quarter or not. We know how many we will have, but you really don’t know the demand until you start shipping."
Cook also said he couldn't promise that "everyone who wants an iPad Air will be able to find one,” when it starts shipping on November 1, but added he thought “it’s going to be an iPad Christmas” this year.
Several analysts and even Reuters previously reported that Apple would be unable to widely roll out the iPad mini 2 at launch. The delay is allegedly due to Apple's supply chain being stretched thin, and not starting production on Retina mini displays until October.
The original iPad mini and iPad mini 2 (or iPad with Retina display) do feature Apple's voice assistant Siri.