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With Apple's new Retina display-equipped iPad mini facing severe supply constraints, checks of Apple retail stores suggest consumers hoping to get their hands on one of the tablets locally will have the best chance by aiming for a 32-gigabyte Wi-Fi-only model.
Data compiled by Cantor Fitzgerald's Brian J. White and revealed in a Tuesday morning note to investors indicates that of the eight Wi-Fi-only models of Apple's latest 7.9-inch tablet, the silver 32-gigabyte variant is the most abundant, showing availability in 72 percent of the 172 Apple retail stores polled.
The same capacity space gray model follows closely behind with availability in 69 percent of stores, while the 128-gigabyte models are said to bring up the rear as stock was found in just 7 percent of locations. The firm did not provide more detailed breakdowns.
The figures add to a growing pile of evidence that the Cupertino, Calif.-based company is struggling to meet demand for the new iPad mini. The tablet's uncharacteristically low-key online sales launch was followed by the revelation that in-store sales would be limited to orders placed via Apple's Personal Pickup program, in which customers make their purchase online and pick it up at their local Apple retail store.
Apple CEO Tim Cook had previously said it was "unclear" whether the company would have enough stock for the crucial holiday quarter, while marketing chief Phil Schiller promised Apple was "working hard" to match pace with demand. The tablet's display has frequently been cited in the rumor mill as a drag on supply, with low yield rates from partners Sharp and LG slowing assembly lines.
Supply issues notwithstanding, the iPad mini with Retina display has met with effusive praise from media and consumers alike. AppleInsider's review found that the iPad mini's version of Apple's high-resolution Retina display and the inclusion of the company's latest A-series system-on-a-chip combine to keep the tablet at the top of the 7 to 8 inch class.