Prepare for iPad Mini Stock Shortages

Excited about the upcoming iPad Mini from Apple? Well, you might want to prepare yourself for a fight at the local Best Buy. According to reports, Apple is already experiencing production pains and it could lead to significant stock shortages once the device finally begins shipping.

That means it’s possible only a limited supply will make their way to retailers during those first months of availability.

Speculation about a trimmed-down iPad has been rampant for months now. Apple has good reason to release such a device: after all, it would give the firm an opportunity to compete with Google, Barnes & Noble, and Amazon, all of which have products on the market priced significantly lower than the iPad.

Most of those lower-priced, circa $200 tablet computers feature seven rather than the 10.1-inch display found in the standard iPad. It’s expected that an iPad Mini will feature a 7.85-inch screen and retail for between $200 and $300.

It’s also expected that the device will sell like gangbusters once it hits the retail market. “Despite the lower price point, we expect Apple to maintain the iconic aesthetics of the current iPad and blow away what competitors are offering in this smaller form-factor tablet market,” said Brian White, an analyst for Topeka Capital Markets.

That said, White has some major concerns about how many iPad Minis will be available at launch time. In a recent meeting with tech suppliers in Taipei, White said that manufacturers “have found the specs around Apple’s 7.85-inch ‘iPad Mini’ to be a challenge and yields have been frustrating.”

In fact, White says this has pushed the iPad Mini launch back 4-6 weeks from his original launch expectation for the device.

At this point it’s anyone’s guess as to what might be presenting the problem. PC Magazine’s Chloe Albanesius suggested it could be the in-cell display, which is similar to the iPhone 5′s screen.

“In-cell displays…are reportedly more difficult to make than traditional smartphone displays, which apparently caused some delays in shipments,” Albanesius said.

It’s believed Apple is preparing to send out invites for a major product unveiling in the next week or so. That unveiling is expected to take place on October 17.

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