10/29/2013 11:29 am ET Updated Oct 31, 2013

Cook Hints At iPad Mini Shortage


If you're planning to buy someone a new iPad Mini for the holidays, you might want to consider other options.

"It's unclear whether we will have enough for the quarter or not," Apple CEO Tim Cook said of the new tablet during Apple's earnings call Monday.

Cook says the new iPad Mini won't start shipping until late November (so forget buying it for Chanukah!). "We know how many we will have, but you really don't know the demand until after you start shipping. So we'll see how that goes," Cook said.

The new iPad Air, on the other hand, will be available on Nov. 1 and is not expected to be in short supply.

Apple may only be able to ship one-third as many iPad Minis as it did last year, an analyst told the Telegraph.

Cook doesn't explain why there will be so few Minis, but one potential reason may be a shortage of the new upgraded retina screens in the size Apple needs, Forbes's Tim Worstall suggests.

TechCrunch's Darrell Etherington believes the problem lies in Apple's "extremely tight requirements on its suppliers in terms of power draw for panels used in the device." An iPad's display uses a lot of battery life, and the iPad Mini's new retina display will use up more battery than ever, Etherington writes.

Your best bet might be the original Mini, since the biggest change is the retina display, the upgraded screen that's already on iPhones and full-sized iPads isn't super noticeable to the untrained eye. Apple recently slashed the first generation Minis price to $299, making it the least expensive iPad option.

The new iPad Mini with retina costs $399. The new iPad Air costs $499.

The iPad and iPad Mini were big hits last holiday season. Apple sold 3 million of the fourth generation iPad and first iPad Mini in the first 3 days they were released in early November, 2012.

Now that Cook's whipping up demand by telling the world of Mini supply issues, we're betting that numbers will look good again this year.

[h/t The Verge]