iPad mini with Retina Display Release: What Buyers Should Expect

Last month, Apple took the stage in San Francisco and announced a number of new products including two brand new iPads dubbed iPad Air and iPad mini with Retina Display. And while the iPad Air was released just a few short days ago, the iPad mini with Retina Display, also known as the iPad mini 2, still doesn’t have a release date. We know that it will be out sometime in November and here, as the release date approaches, we want to take a look at what shoppers can expect from the day when it arrives.

Prior to Apple’s October launch event, iPad rumors were seeping to the surface on a near daily basis, teasing prospective buyers. Rumors suggested that the company had not one, but two iPad models up its sleeve for the holidays including an iPad 5 and an iPad mini 2. According to rumors, the iPad 5 would come with a redesign aimed at making the device lighter, thinner and more compact while delivering better performance. iPad mini 2 rumors suggested a similar design with a new Retina Display and the same hardware perks as the iPad 5.

As it turned out, those rumors were dead on. The iPad 5, now known as the iPad Air, did come with a redesign, a brand new camera and an upgraded 64-bit A7 processor. Apple’s new iPad mini really did come with a Retina Display, a similar design and the same hardware upgrades as the iPad Air.

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Apple followed protocol and not only revealed their features but their release dates as well though it declined to be very specific with the iPad mini with Retina Display. The company attached a November 1st release date to the iPad Air and the device arrived on schedule last week. Apple has pegged the iPad mini with Retina Display release for November though a specific date isn’t known.

As November marches on, an iPad mini with Retina Display release is undoubtedly getting closer and here, we take an updated look at what buyers should expect from the release date for Apple’s brand new 7.9-inch tablet.

Apple Will Stick to November

At the launch event, Apple announced that it would be bringing the iPad mini with Retina Display to shelves in November but failed to announce exactly when the device would be released. Instead, consumers are faced with the unknown. Apple says that the device will be out “later in November” though it doesn’t go beyond that. Sources familiar with Apple’s plans have told Gotta Be Mobile that a release should come in “late November” rather than mid-November. Exactly what that means is unclear.

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Rumors have pointed to a release date of November 21st though that date remains unconfirmed. That date does fall into late November so it’s a possibility, just like the other dates in late November. While nothing is set in stone just yet, iPad mini with Retina Display buyers can take November to the bank. Apple would not have promised November if it couldn’t deliver and there is no way that it’s going to push the release date back any further than it has already.

Expect Apple to stick to November, late November at that, and for it to get the iPad mini with Retina Display out ahead of Black Friday, one of the biggest shopping days of the year and a date that Apple’s rivals will likely be trying to take advantage of.

Friday Release

We have a problem with the rumored November 21st release date. Apple loves to release its products on Fridays, it did so with the iPhone 5s, iPhone 5c and the iPad Air and we would be surprised if the company strayed away from this pattern with the iPad mini with Retina Display release. Even MacRumors, the source of the rumor, expressed skepticism about the date due to it being on a Thursday and not a Friday.

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Perhaps the date is just one day off then. November 22nd is a Friday and it’s just a day after the presumed iPad mini with Retina Display release date. It’s also a date that falls ahead of Black Friday and ahead of the bulk of the holiday shopping season. To us, November 22nd makes the most sense at this point and it’s another date that prospective buyers should circle on the calendar. In pencil.

Pre-Orders Soon, If At All

Along with its release date, another big mystery is whether Apple will offer a pre-order for the iPad mini with Retina Display. There were rumors that orders could start on the day the iPad Air went on sale but that obviously failed to materialize. At this point, we aren’t holding our breath. If Apple was planning pre-orders, we feel like they would have been announced already. And we certainly would have heard whispers, especially through known Apple mouthpieces like AllThingsD, The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal.

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That said, there is still plenty of time until late November arrives and Apple typically offers a pre-order about a week ahead of a release. So, it’s certainly possible that plans could change and we could see Apple announce something soon. We still feel like the chances are slim and that iPad mini with Retina Display buyers should operate as if a pre-order isn’t going to take place.

Midnight Orders

When the iPad mini with Retina Display does go on sale, we fully expect that orders will start at midnight. Whether that’s pre-orders or a general sale, Apple will put its new iPad mini up for sale at midnight. Same goes for AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile and Verizon Wireless. All four will likely sell the iPad mini and they, like Apple will put the device on sale early in the morning.

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That will leave buyers with two options. Stay up late and order, for those on the East Coast it will be 3AM, or wake up early and brave the cold at a local retail location. We highly recommend trying to order online but we expect doors to open early at 8AM for those that either miss or neglect online orders.

Retail Options

We expect there to be several different retail options available to those that are looking to buy the iPad mini with Retina Display. The iPad Air arrived in a number of different stores including Apple Stores, carrier stores and retail stores like Walmart and RadioShack. We expect the same from the new iPad mini though we don’t expect the same kind of availability that we saw with the iPad Air.

Short Supply Is Likely

Before the iPad launch event, we heard grumblings about short supply. While Apple didn’t confirm anything outright, the fact that it pushed the iPad mini with Retina Display into late November without a specific date is all the confirmation we needed. In other words, it’s clear that the company is struggling to get supply on par with demand.

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Unfortunately, recent signs are pointing to a horrendous amount of supply throughout 2013 and into 2014 as Apple works with its suppliers to ramp up production. These supply shortages means that buyers will need to put an emphasis on buying the device on the first day of availability. Those that don’t run the risk of missing out on the device for the holidays or paying exorbitant prices to those wiling to sell on third-party sites like eBay.

Limited Deals

Deals on new Apple products are always hard to come by. Not even Black Friday is kind to those looking to buy a recently launched Apple product. However, that doesn’t mean that there won’t be any deals. We’ve seen Walmart offer slight discounts on the iPhone 5s and the iPad Air and we wouldn’t be surprised if it offers a small price cut on the iPad mini with Retina Display.

We’re not talking $100 off or even $50 off but perhaps $20 off its regular $399 starting price. The iPad Air checked in with a $479.99 price and we could see the iPad mini with Retina Display price dip to $379.99. Other retailers may match Walmart’s discount though the discount itself isn’t even a guarantee at this point.

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