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iPad Mini pre-orders set to begin early Friday morning

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Reuters

(Read caption) The new iPad mini is projected on a screen at an Apple event in San Jose, Calif, on Oct. 23. An iPad Mini shortage has been projected by some analysts.

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Earlier this week, Apple introduced the long-awaited iPad Mini. And beginning at 12:01 a.m. Pacific time on Friday – or 3 a.m. Eastern, if you'd like – consumers can begin placing their pre-orders for the sleek, square, slim tablet. Mini prices start at $329, for a Wi-Fi-only, 16GB model; the 64GB Wi-Fi Mini will set you back $529. (LTE versions of the tablet won't start shipping for a couple weeks, Apple says.) 

Just make sure you're quick on the trigger finger – already, some analysts are predicting that Apple may have trouble keeping up with demand for the Mini. 

"As is typical, we expect the iPads to be supply constrained initially, especially the iPad Mini with its $329 price," Richard Shim, Senior Analyst at DisplaySearch, an analytics firm, wrote in a blog post today. "The new low price point is expected to appeal to a wider audience and drive up demand. However, panel supply chain indications point to an even more than typical tightness in the market for the iPad Mini."

So let's assume you do manage to wrangle a Mini. How will the device handle? 

Well, reviews of the iPad Mini won't appear for a few more days, but a gaggle of journalists managed to get their hands on the device at a press event earlier this week in New York, and most of them were impressed.

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