Those planning to play Santa this coming holiday might have to do their shopping early especially if they want to give out Apple's iPad mini with Retina display (aka Retina iPad mini). Analysts disclosed that the supply of second generation iPad mini coming out of factories might not be enough to meet the demand for the rest of the year. That is even if Santa checks his list twice.

The iPad mini that sports a display with a resolution of 2048 x 1536 and is powered by A7 chip officially went on sale, Tuesday. Apple quietly placed it on its online store for people who want it for home delivery or for those who want to pick up their units at an Apple Store near their area.

The iPad mini with Retina display is also available through AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile, and Sprint as well as electronic retail chain Best Buy. The price tag for the tablet starts at $399 for a Wi-Fi only variant with 16GB of storage space. It can go for as high as $829 for consumers who want the WiFi with cellular version that comes with 128GB capacity.

ZDNet reported that Apple, to combat supply shortage, is limiting the sale to two Retina iPad minis for every customer.

The move of Apple may support claims of KGI Securities researh analyst Ming Chi Kuo, who estimated that the supply of the Retina iPad mini for the closing months of 2013 will be only around two million. However, the production of the tablet is expected to hit over 4.5 million by the first quarter of next year.

Rhoda Alexander of the research firm IHS Electronics and Media also had made the same forecast.

"Apple's 2013 iPad shipment growth is shaping up to be comparatively modest and the shift in launch cycles has played a major role in the slowdown," Alexander said in an interview in October.

"In addition to potentially providing an extra boost to iPad shipments in 2014, it would also allow Apple to own the product news cycle for much of the year, which provides a lot of free advertising for the Apple brand. It's a delicate balancing act, especially with smartphone rival, Samsung, hoping to displace Apple as king of the tablets," she added.

The iPad mini with Retina display was officially unwrapped on October 22 during a press event in San Francisco, alongside the new iPad Air.

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