Apple’s iPad mini shipping times have slipped to a minimum of two weeks across the board, including for Wi-Fi only versions, which were the only ones initially set for an earlier, November 2 delivery. The white version actually sold out fastest, with pre-order ship times dropping to two weeks just 20 minutes or so after pre-orders began Friday morning at 12 AM PT/3 AM ET.
How does that compare with previous product launches? Well, the initial stock of iPhone 5s sold out in just about an hour, but pre-orders of the 3rd generation iPad with Retina Display released in March took a couple of days to sell out completely. Apple began taking pre-orders the day it unveiled the “new iPad” on March 7, and they were out of initial stock by March 9. In other words, the iPad mini seems to be on pace with Apple’s tablet sales standards so far, though we won’t know about how much stock was available at launch for at least a little while yet.
On Thursday’s conference call discussing Apple’s quarterly earnings, CEO Tim Cook came back again and again to the challenges of iPad mini manufacturing, and how that affected gross margins. That might also indicate that we’ll see supply constraints early on, with demand outpacing supply (nothing new for an Apple product launch, of course). But regardless of initial shipping volumes, the iPad mini selling out initial supplies over a weekend provides some early evidence that some critics’ claims of Apple pricing itself out of market with the $329 iPad mini are likely unfounded.
As for why the white mini was so quick to sell out, judging by how long it took the black and slate version to get there, it looks like Apple could have a much more limited supply of the white version. It’ll be interesting to see in what ratios the different versions hit stores, and whether perhaps there are supply or manufacturing challenges around the white model.