Two weeks after Apple released the first-ever iPad Mini to the public on Nov. 2, the Cupertino, Calif.-based tech giant finally released the LTE and cellular-capable variant of its 7.9-inch tablet via its own retail stores and AT&T stores.
Apple likely waited until Friday to start selling the LTE-friendly iPad Mini because this date -- Nov. 16 -- was the earliest delivery date for those that ordered the iPad Mini online when pre-orders first opened. (That said, a few customers still managed to get theirs a day early.) Apple didn't want to ruffle the feathers of those dedicated customers that made their purchasing decisions early, so it released the tablets to coincide with Friday's big delivery date to avoid any possible customer dissatisfaction.
Apple is still struggling to meet customer demand for this particular tablet, even with the extra two weeks since the Nov. 2 mass release of the iPad Mini. The online Apple Store lists all iPad Mini models, from the Wi-Fi only configurations to the cellular and LTE-friendly versions, as available to ship in two weeks.
Therefore, for anyone still trying to purchase an iPad Mini with or without LTE should bypass the online store, and simply walk outside -- scary, I know -- and go buy one at a retail store.
Starting today, Apple is selling the LTE-capable iPad Mini at its retail stores around the US, and so is cellular service provider AT&T, which offers a nifty $100 discount for anyone willing to buy an cellular-ready iPad Mini with a two-year plan, which also includes a $10 per month "Mobile Share" add-on for tablets.
About The iPad Mini
The iPad Mini, the first Apple-branded tablet with a screen smaller than 9.7 inches, is actually very similar to Apple's 2011 tablet, the iPad 2.
The similarities between the tablets include the processor, Apple's dual-core A5 chip, and the pixels, which is the same non-Retina 1024 x 768 resolution. Otherwise, the iPad Mini runs on the same operating system as the iPad 4 and iPhone 5 -- iOS 6 -- and is connected to power with the new 8-pin Lighting dock connector.
Though we originally believed Apple would not feature LTE in this current-generation iPad Mini, Apple surprised us by squeezing several LTE bands into the device, which means the iPad Mini will be able to deliver high-speed speed Internet access without a wireless connection.
But besides all the features and goodies the iPad Mini has to offer, its best asset by far is its portability. The iPad Mini weighs just 0.68 pounds -- roughly as light as a paper notepad -- and measures just 7.2 mm thick, which is about the thinness of a pencil.
Apple currently sells the Wi-Fi versions of the iPad Mini at $329, but the cellular and LTE models of the iPad Mini, which go on sale tomorrow to coincide with the first batch of deliveries, start selling at $459 for 16GB of storage. Apple also sells LTE-friendly iPad Minis at $559 for 32GB and $659 for 64GB.
The iPad Mini comes in two color combos: black and slate, and white and silver. The best chance to buy any model of iPad Mini will be to visit an Apple Store tomorrow: While the first online customers should receive their orders on Saturday, new orders for the device are currently listed to ship in two weeks.
Check out my review of the iPad Mini, but be warned: It's not very nice.
Smith manages and coordinates the activities of the technology subsection of the company, contributing...