Availability of the new thin and light iPad Air may not be constrained for Friday's launch, as Apple is reportedly planning to offer in-store pickup options at its own retail outlets.
An Apple Retail source who spoke with MacRumors indicated that Apple is apparently planning to make its Personal Pickup option available to customers for Friday's launch. That would be an unusual move for the company, as new products are typically constrained at launch.
Apple is not accepting preorders for the iPad Air ahead of Friday's debut. Stores are set to open at 8 a.m. local time on Friday for the new iPad's launch, while the online store is expected to begin taking orders for home delivery at 12:01 a.m. Pacific on Friday.
Though Apple is not offering preorders, the fact that Personal Pickup will apparently be available on launch day could be a sign that the company is confident in its ability to meet demand through the launch weekend.
Strong availability is not, however, expected for Apple's iPad mini with Retina display when that device goes on sale later this month. Apple has not yet committed to a specific launch date for the second-generation iPad mini, but it's been suggested that supply issues may linger through early 2014, due to rumored yield issues with the device's high-resolution display.
Announced last week, the new iPad Air is thinner and lighter than its predecessor, weighing in at one pound and measuring just 7.5 millimeters thick. Apple has said it's the lightest full-size tablet in the world.