Apple Stores start selling Retina iPad mini to walk-in customers as regional carriers launch cellular models

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Regional carriers are starting to announce availability for cellular models of Apple’s new Retina iPad mini just as the company today started offering the device to walk-in customers.

Bluegrass Cellular announced today that it is now offering the iPad mini Wi-Fi Cellular models in-store and online. Available on the carrier’s website now starting at the usual $530 for the 16GB model, the carrier is also offering all three models (16GB, 32GB, and 64GB) on its no-contract “Freedom, Expanded” plan. That allows customers to make 12 monthly payments to get the device they want with the ability to trade-in and upgrade to a new device after a year. That plan will run $26.50/month for the 16GB model on Bluegrass, $31.50/month for the $630 32GB model, or $36.50/month for the $730 64GB model. The carrier appears to only have Space Gray models of the device available, at least online, and the Freedom Expanded plans are only available in-store. Another regional carrier, C Spire Wireless, will begin selling the Retina iPad mini over the next week. UpdateU.S. Cellular has also begun cellular iPad mini with Retina Display sales today on its website.

In other Retina iPad mini news, we’ve just received word Apple has just started selling the device to walk-in customers in its retail stores following an initial launch for Personal Pickup orders only.

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Apple Store comes back online with Retina iPad mini, exclusive holiday offers

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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.

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T-Mobile CEO says free 200MB of iPad data has ‘no exceptions/strings attached’ unless already being a T-Mobile customer is considered a string

Update: In a back and forth with a reporter over Twitter last night (below), Legere confirmed what many of us had found out through the website and online: You need to be a T-Mobile customer to get the 200mb of free data.

Back on the announcement date of the new iPad Air and iPad mini with Retina display, many potential iPad with Cellular users were excited to see that “un-carrier” T-Mobile USA would be offering 200MB of data per month at no charge.

However, several readers and tipsters today noted that when trying to purchase a T-Mobile-optimized iPad Air, the carrier would actually charge $10 per month for that 200MB of data. The exception was apparently for subscribers to voice smartphone plans on T-Mobile; these customers would be credited back the $10 of data each month.

Now, T-Mobile CEO John Legere has responded to this mixup by noting that there are “no strings attached.” He calls the charges an “executional mistake” and notes that the situation will be corrected…

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Apple says fix incoming for 13-inch Retina MacBook Pro trackpad & keyboard issues, offers interim solution

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Apple has published a new support article detailing an issue with some new 13-inch Retina MacBook Pros that debuted alongside the iPad Air earlier this month. The issue can lead to the computer’s keyboard or trackpad becoming unresponsive.

There have been numerous reports of the issue in a 67-page thread on the Apple support forums. Apple’s statement:

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Another report claims short supply of Retina iPad mini due to display shortages from Sharp

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Following several reports this month and hints from Tim Cook that Retina iPad mini stock could be in short supply when the device launches next month, the hit and miss DigiTimes reports today that the shortages are due to limited supply of displays from Apple’s supplier Sharp. Specifically, the report claims that Sharp’s “Oxide TFT process is seeing low yield rates” leading to a less than ideal supply of  7.9-inch Retina panels. Sharp accounts for around 40% of the displays for iPad mini with Retina display production, while LG Display is providing the other approximately 60%, according to the report: Read more

Retina iPad mini could be the new gold iPhone 5s, with ‘ridiculously tight’ supplies

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A second analyst has warned that supplies of the Retina iPad mini are likely to be “ridiculously tight”, after KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo previously predicted they would be “highly constrained.” The comment comes from Rhoda Alexander, director of tablet research at IHS electronis and media, quoted in the Telegraph.

Apple could face supply issues for the iPad mini 2 with Retina, as its supply is one third the size of its shipments from this time last year, an analyst said.

Rhoda Alexander, director of tablet research at IHS electronis and media, said: “The supply of the Retina Mini is going to be ridiculously tight in the fourth quarter …  Read more