The iPad mini with Retina display went on sale through the Apple Online Store early Tuesday morning in an uncharacteristically soft launch. The news was prefaced by an internal memo that leaked from Apple’s GSX tool. The device is available in the United States, Australia, China (no LTE models yet), Hong Kong, Japan, New Zealand, and Singapore.
The release comes at an unexpected time. Apple didn’t officially announce the release date ahead of time, saying only that the device would be available sometime this month. In fact, aside from a memo that was released to employees only hours before the tablet went live on the Apple Online Store, there was no indication that it would be released this week at all.
Availability dates for other iPad models, such as the iPad Air that went on sale earlier this month, have usually been announced in advance to give retailers and customers time to plan for the release.
The iPad mini with Retina display features all of the same internal components as the full-sized iPad Air, including Apple’s new A7 chip, M7 motion co-processor for improved motion data handling and battery life, a 1.2 MP front-facing camera, 5 MP rear camera, and 2048-by-1536 Retina display. The only difference between the two is the size of the tablet itself—the iPad Air has a 9.7-inch screen while the iPad mini with Retina display has a 7.9-inch screen.
The Retina iPad mini starts at $399 for the 16 GB Wi-Fi model and $529 for the LTE version.
Apple has also updated the design of its store for holiday shoppers, including several exclusive offers. These offers include the Anki Drive Starter Kit for $199.95, Infomotion 94Fifty Smart Sensor basketball for $299.95, and the Automatic smart driving sensor for $99.95. The updated store also includes a list of top gifts for holiday shoppers.