CUPERTINO -- Amid reports of manufacturing issues that could limit the supply, Apple (AAPL) began selling its newest iPad Mini on Tuesday, less than two weeks after its latest full-sized iPad debuted in the United States.
The technology giant's second attempt at a smaller tablet device -- the iPad Mini measures 7.9 inches diagonally while the full-sized version checks in at 9.7 inches -- is the first to include Apple's high-definition screen, known as a Retina display. The device appeared on Apple's website for sale Tuesday morning, joining the recently released iPad Air.
"The response to iPad Air has been incredible, and we're excited for customers to experience the new iPad mini with Retina display," Philip Schiller, Apple's senior vice president of worldwide marketing, said in a news release announcing the start of sales Tuesday.
When the Cupertino company announced the new iPad releases on Oct. 22, it did not give a release date for the new iPad Mini as it did for the iPad Air, which launched Nov. 1, instead saying that the smaller tablet would be available later in November. Reports leading up to and after the announcement suggested Apple's component suppliers were having issues producing enough of the smaller Retina displays to satisfy expected demand for the product.
Schiller seemed to hint at supply issues in Tuesday's news release, saying, "We're working hard to get as many as we can in the hands of our customers."
The iPad Mini has two other noticeable differences from its predecessor besides the display: its chip and price tag. Like the newest iPhones and full-sized iPad, the iPad Mini has Apple's new 64-bit A7 chip, which is more power-efficient and faster. It also is more expensive than the earlier model, which started at $329; the iPad Mini with Retina display starts at $399 and costs as much as $829 for a model with cellular connectivity and 128 GB of storage. The original iPad Mini has been discounted, with prices starting at $299.
The device is available in silver or space gray colors, and can be purchased on Apple's website for shipping or pickup at an Apple store. Wireless carriers AT&T, Verizon, Sprint and T-Mobile are also selling the device.
Apple stock closed up 0.2 percent to $520.01 in Tuesday's trading.
Contact Jeremy C. Owens at 408-920-5876; follow him at Twitter.com/jowens510.