When the iPad Mini 2 arrives later this month, and it will arrive later this month, it’s going to be really, really hard to find for all the usual reasons an Apple product is really, really hard to find. Oh, and there are probably going to be shortages on top of that.
The problem really comes down to this: Whether or not there are enough Retina displays at the size Apple needs to make the iPad Mini in the numbers they’ll have to in order to meet demand. One thing that’s rarely discussed in electronics manufacturing is that making just one device involves a rather elaborate supply chain; one link on the chain breaks and essentially production of that device is shut down.
As you might have guessed from the header up top, the problem is the Retina screen.
Starting Just Now
By all accounts, Retina screens for the iPad Mini 2 are just now starting production. That’s a bit of problem since Apple is likely announcing the iPad Mini 2 October 15th, with the iPad Mini itself probably hitting shelves soon after, Halloween by the absolute latest. If this sounds like a bit of a nightmare, well, yeah,
it is, and you might be wondering how something like this was even allowed to happen.
Mini Vs. Full
The ultimate answer is that Apple was unsure whether or not they wanted a Retina display in the iPad Mini. The iPad Mini has been enormously popular, to the detriment of the original iPad, and a Retina display in it would just make the Mini more popular. Apple, for obvious reasons, isn’t sure it wants the Mini to overwhelm the iPad and cut into their profit margins.
On the other hand, they also have to give the people what they want. So it’s likely the supply chain problems reflected that uncertainty. In short, get in line early, folks; it’s going to be a long wait otherwise.
Dan Seitz is an obsessive nerd living in New England. He lives in the Boston area with a fiancee, a dog, a cat, and far too many objects with processors.