Why Apple Was So Quiet About The Retina iPad Mini Launch

Buzz around the original iPad mini in Barcelona's Passeig de Gracia Apple Store last year. Photo Charlie Sorrel.

Buzz around the original iPad mini in Barcelona’s Passeig de Gracia Apple Store last year. Photo Charlie Sorrel.

I ordered a Retina iPad mini (128GB, LTE, silver if you’re asking) barely 30 minutes after I noticed Killian had posted about it. And yes, I have to wait 5–10 days, but so does everyone else. Even those hippies on the West Coast who sleep in ’til noon every day before making their mango smoothies.

Which is to say that I agree with Ed Dale’s smart take on Apple’s weirdly quiet launch of the Retina mini: that it was designed to keep folks happy.

Here’re his three points:

  • Apple’s biggest fans got theirs first. Who knew about this first? The people who follow the Apple blogs and digerati. Judging by Twitter, this worked perfectly.
  • The grey market queing [sic] for the iPad Mini Retina was going to be immense. By going online the incredibly poor optics (The front of Apple lines, which attracts a lot of media, was full of people who were not fans but paid to be there) are mitigated.
  • The last thing Apple wants is 100’s of customers turning up everyday to be disapointed [sic] in a store which is meant to be a happy place – Apple does not want their stores to be associated with disappointment and frustration!!

All good points. I’m usually frustrated (by missing the ordering sweet spot before shipping times get longer) or nervous (because I’m going to have to chance it in the queue at an Apple Store on launch day), but with the Retina Mini I’m happy enough. Sure, I have to wait a while, but at least I know I’m in the line and won’t have to wait too long.

Am I jealous of fellow Cult of Mac writer John Brownlee, who got the mini he wanted on day one by getting lucky at his local Apple Store? Sure, but what can you do? At least I’m not reduced to visiting the Apple Store every morning to see if the iPad I want is finally in stock, and probably just leaving with the wrong color or a too-small capacity.

I’m sure Apple would have loved to stuff its brick-n-mortar (or glass-n-imported-granite) stores with iPad Retinas mini for a big press ballyhoo on launch day, but given the likelihood that the new minis are severely supply constrained, a quiet launch seems to have been the way to go.

Of course, if my own ship date slips I’ll be whining again, just you wait.

  • wkoffel

    I too ordered one within the first hour of online sales, and am still waiting my 5-10 days. But last night, I found the one I wanted at a local apple store, reserved for in-store pickup, and had it an hour later. Totally smooth process. Now I just need to decide whether to cancel/return/resell the other one I have coming.

    There’s a new tool for searching the Apple Store inventory up today, but probably not for long (at an unlikely source), http://seaturtle.org/idevice/ (I have no affiliation, just saw it in the apple-news-o-sphere)

    Oh, and if anyone wants a 64GB Gray Verizon, I’ll have one to sell you in 4-9 days….

  • Truffol

    Interesting thing is how Apple wanted to play very low-key about the iPad Mini Retina launch but there’s so much desire out there the entire media world picked up on the news right on November 12th. There are now reports of color saturation issues of the LCD screen so that could be what limited supply.

About the author

Charlie Sorrel Charlie Sorrel is the Reviews Editor here on Cult of Mac. Follow Charlie  on Twitter at @mistercharlie.

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