Online Apple Store closed ahead of iPad mini preorder launch [u]

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Apple's online storefront went down early Friday morning in preparation for what is expected to be a rush of preorders for the iPad mini, the company's first mid-size tablet offering.

Update: The Online Apple Store is back up and showing availability for all iPad mini and fourth-generation iPad models.

When the 7.9-inch iPad mini was announced on Tuesday by Apple marketing chief Phil Schiller, who announced the device would be available for preorder on Friday in the usual varieties

Instead of the traditional black and white colorways seen on all previous iPads, the iPad mini takes its styling cues from the iPhone 5 with the "Black and Slate" version featuring an anodized black shell, while the "White and Silver" model's casing uses raw aluminum. Each iteration is offered in 16GB, 32GB and 64GB capacities, and customers can choose from Wi-Fi + Cellular or Wi-Fi only connectivity.

Pricing for the iPad mini with Wi-Fi only is set at $329 (US) for the 16GB model, $429 (US) for the 32GB model and $529 (US) for the 64GB model, while the Wi-Fi + Cellular version is $459 (US), $559 (US), $659 (US) for the 16GB, 32GB and 64GB model, respectively. Wi-Fi only models will arrive by Nov. 2 with Wi-Fi + Cellular versions coming some time later.

AppleInsider has compiled a list of trade in options for readers who want to offset the cost of their new tablet by selling their old, unused models. Make sure to check the latest, and best, trade in prices here as tablet values are steadily dropping.

Alongside the iPad mini, the fourth-generation iPad will also be available for order, with the refreshed 9.7-inch tablet getting a faster A6X processor that promises double the performance of its predecessor, FaceTime HD camera and Lightning connection port.

The full-size iPad with Wi-Fi only will cost $499 (US) for the 16GB model, $599 (US) for the 32GB model and $699 (US) for the 64GB model, while the Wi-Fi + 4G LTE U.S carriers for AT&T, Sprint and Verizon will be offered for $629 (US), $729 (US)$829 (US) for 16GB, 32GB and 64GB model, respectively. Just as with the mini, the Wi-Fi only version of the fourth-generation iPad will be in stores on Nov. 2, with Wi-Fi + 4G LTE to follow.

Preorders for both the mini and revamped iPad will go live in 26 countries when Online Apple Store reopens, including US, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Korea, Luxembourg, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Singapore, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the UK.

The store is expected to be up and running at 12:01 a.m. Pacific / 3:01 a.m. Eastern.