Apple's soft launch for the Retina Display iPad mini on Tuesday seemed to confirm concerns that inventory would be very limited, and Wednesday morning's checks back that up. Many of the Apple retail store locations The Mac Observer checked were all showing no inventory for personal pickup orders, and most models are showing a 5 to 10 day wait time for online orders.
The Retina iPad mini is the new version of the 7.9-inch tablet Apple introduced last year. The new model includes Apple's dual-core A7 64-bit processor and M7 math coprocessor, improved rear-facing camera, FaceTime front-facing camera, improved WiFi wireless networking performance, Bluetooth, stereo speakers, and more. It's available in black with space gray back and white with silver back.
TMO's checks showed that Retina iPad mini availability seems to vary by region. In Colorado, for example, no stores had any as of early Wednesday morning. In California, however, Apple Stores throughout the state had at least limited inventories.
Apple's online store showed 1-3 day ship times for the WiFi-only 16GB and 32GB models, and 5-10 day ship times for the 64GB and 128GB modeles, as well as all WiFi plus LTE models.
Some third party retailers, like Best Buy, have received very limited numbers of the new iPads -- a little twist of irony considering Apple's own retail stores are doing without.
None of the Apple Store locations TMO checked yesterday even had display models to show off, so be sure to call ahead to see if any are available if you're planning a special trip just to see the Retina iPad mini.