Date: Wednesday, November 13th, 2013, 08:46
Category: Apple, Consumer Electronics, Hardware, iPad mini, News, Retail Store
After this morning’s excitement following the release of the Retina iPad mini, I found myself in downtown San Francisco today and thought I’d swing by the Apple Store to see how crazy the new mini’s sales were. When I got there, it was strangely quiet, “quiet” being a relative term when used to describe the Union Square store which is almost always full of tourists, business travelers, and just about anyone else you can think of.
My first thought was that maybe the devices didn’t hit the retail shelves today, but sure enough they were right there near the front door. I wasn’t convinced at first because at first glance the new Retina version looks exactly like the last version (which is still on sale). If I looked closely, I could tell the screen looked clearer, but not believing my eyes, I checked the About screen in Settings which confirmed it. After playing with it a while, the iPad Air caught my eye so I had to play with that for a bit. The big brother of the iPad family indeed felt amazingly light and thin compared to my old iPad 2. Strangely, after using the iPad mini for several minutes beforehand, the iPad Air seemed enormous screen-wise, which may factor into my decision regarding which one will be my next personal iPad. Thinking I might just talk myself into walking away with a new Retina iPad mini (in Space Gray), I flagged an employee to find out what kind of availability they had for each of the models. That’s when he told me that the only way to find out was to go to the Apple web site, where I would also have to purchase it.
Say what? Yep, he explained to me that with the new iPad mini, you couldn’t just walk in, slap down some plastic, and walk out the store with different plastic that had an A7 processor in it (unless it was an iPad Air). Ok, the iPads are mostly glass and aluminum, but that wouldn’t have worked with my colorful turn of phrase. You first have to go online, check to see if the model is available for pickup at your store of choice, and if it is, order it through Apple’s online store and arrange to pick it up later. Speculation is that this is the way Apple is trickling sales until inventory of the Retina iPad mini gets better so they don’t completely run out in a couple of days. In the Bay Area, availability is pretty scarce for all models. Of the ones I checked, none of them were available in nearby stores, and one was only available across the bridge in the Emeryville store. That was about the same for the iPhone 5S when I finally decided to buy online and have it shipped. It’s probably for the best, for me anyway, since I’m still not sure which size I want for my next iPad.