When it introduced the new iPad mini with Retina display on Tuesday, Apple didn't offer a definite ship date for the new tablet -- except to say that it is "coming later in November."
But even if the newest sized-down iOS tablet does make a debut on the market in the next month, that doesn't mean everyone who wants one is going to get one.
A new report from IHS iSuppli concurs with many of the rumors about supply chain issues that have been circulating for months now, probably causing what many have interpreted to be a delayed unveiling let alone an uncertain availability timeline.
The bottom line is that the supply won't be able to meet demand due to limited production of that coveted, shiny Retina Display, according to the market research firm.
Interestingly, that does not seem to be a problem for the iPad Air, and the topic hasn't garnered nearly as much attention (if any at all) for the larger, 9.7-inch form factor in general.
The breakdown goes like this: IHS analysts project that Apple will only be able to ship southward of four million units of the second-generation iPad mini in Q4 -- possibly even as little as three million.
That would amount to only one-third of the expected 8.9 million units demanded by consumers. Given that the fourth quarter is also the holiday shopping season, such expectations are not completely unreasonable -- at least for Apple given how often it boasts sales in the millions during launch weekends for previous iPhones and iPads.
On the bright side, IHS analysts predicted that supply will meet demand better as soon as the first quarter, adding the caveat that "with Chinese New Year falling at the end of January, supply difficulties on the new mini could linger into February or March of 2014."
China is Apple's second-largest market in overall sales, and we've already discussed Apple's business strategy in the Chinese market here on ZDNet earlier this week. Suffice to say, that is also a reasonable caveat to take into consideration.
For customers who just can't wait for an iPad mini and don't want to shell out $500+ for an iPad Air, the first generation is still going to be available, starting at $299. A refurbished model could also do the trick starting at $249.