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Apple's iPad Air launches today but Retina mini not expected until spring 2014

New iPad Air launches in 41 countries but supply problems are rumoured to be delaying the iPad mini 2
  • @jjvincent

Apple has launched its new iPad Air today but worries are growing over supplies for its little brother, the iPad mini 2.

The smaller 7.9-inch tablet comes with a Retina screen and A7 chip and was launched last month. However, various reports are suggesting that supplies of the device will not be able to meet demand.

At an earnings calls on 28 October Apple CEO Tim Cook said that “it’s not clear if [Apple] will have enough” stock of the iPad mini 2.

Cook’s predictions are matched by various independent analysts, with Rhoda Alexander of market research firm IHS describing supply of the new mini as “ridiculously tight in the fourth quarter,” adding that “the heart of the problem is supply constraints on the new Retina panel.”

The updated mini was launched alongside the Air on 22 October but Apple still has yet to confirm a release date for the smaller device. IHS is predicting that Apple will launch the device in Spring next year when “supply will be more assured”.

Faster, lighter, sexier - why Apple’s new iPad Air is a breath of fresh... air

In contrast, supplies of the new iPad Air are expected to be bountiful, though it’s uncertain as to whether demand will match that of the iPhone 5s.

During the launch weekend of the new iPhone 5s and 5c Apple sole a record-breaking 9 million devices. A recent study based on searches, pre-orders and sales by comparison site uSwitch suggested that the 16GB gold coloured 5s is currently the UK’s most popular handset, unseating the black 16GB iPhone 5.

Whilst iPhones sales have continued to exceed expectations, demand for iPads has been flat. Apple are hoping that their new Air will reinvigorate the market, but with a slew of rival devices available this Christmas Apple's premium prices may prove too much for consumers.

The 9.7-inch Air is the fifth full-sized tablet from Apple and is launching today in 41 countries with prices starting at £399 for the 16GB version with Wi-Fi and £499 for the 16GB with Wi-Fi and cellular.