While Apple CEO Tim Cook may have put one rumor to rest during today's earnings call, he basically confirmed another one: When asked about the availability of the iPad mini with Retina display, Cook said that the new model will start shipping "later in November," but that it's "unclear whether we'll have enough for the quarter or not." Cook quickly pointed out that "we know how many we'll have," but that it's difficult to predict demand for a product until it starts shipping. He seemed to be confirming persistent rumors that the Retina mini would be in short supply during the holiday shopping season.

Although Cook insisted that "we'll do fairly well with iPad," and that Apple will have a "really great holiday season," the company may have reason to be concerned about not being able to meet demand for the new model. As reported earlier, iPad sales were flat compared to the same period last year, even while competitors are seeing major growth in tablet sales. Apple has seen its share of the total tablet market drop from 60 percent a year ago to just 32 percent today. Apple is hoping, according to Cook, for "an iPad Christmas," but it may be one that many customers will have to celebrate without the company's most notable new model.

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Apple confirms it's 'unclear' whether there will be enough Retina iPad minis to meet demand