New iPad Mini on sale, but supplies limited

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Apple iPad Mini (image courtesy of Apple)

(CNN) — In something of a surprise move, Apple began selling its new iPad Mini on Tuesday.

The small tablet, with a speedier processor and the same high-definition “retina display” as its bigger cousins, is available from Apple’s online store and from wireless partners AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile and Verizon. It’s also being sold by selected third-party retailers such as Best Buy.

Shoppers cannot buy them yet from Apple retail stores, although they can be picked up at stores after being ordered online. An Apple spokeswoman declined to say when they might become available for in-store purchases.

The new Mini’s release comes three weeks after Apple introduced the device and 12 days after the new full-size iPad Air went on sale. Many analysts had expected Apple to release the iPad Mini later this month, with speculation focusing on November 22. Apple tends to release new products on Fridays, giving them a full weekend to rack up sales while excitement is high.

A product listing on Target’s website recently listed the release date for the iPad Mini as November 21, although that date has since been removed.

Supplies of the device appear to be limited at first, which may explain why Apple is not selling the new Mini in its stores. As of late morning Tuesday, Apple’s online store was listing shipping delays of one to three business days for 16GB and 32GB models and five to 10 business days for models with higher amounts of storage.

Early reports also have said Apple is facing a shortage of the Mini’s new, high-definition display screens.

The new Pad Mini has a 7.9-inch display (compared to 9.7 inches for the full-size iPad) and comes in two colors: silver or space gray. Prices range from $399 for a Wi-Fi-only, 16GB model to $829 for a 128GB model with cellular connectivity.