Apple Preventing in-store iPad Mini with Retina Purchases

It seems Apple is constraining in-store purchases of the iPad mini with retina display.

The Backstory

A couple nights ago, I reached that point where I was 99% certain I wanted to get an iPad mini, despite the lack of Touch ID. I knew supplies were tight, but I figured it was worth seeing if any were in stock locally. To my surprise, there were some available, so I placed an order for Personal Pickup at the Pioneer Place Apple Store.

Yesterday, I picked up the new iPad at lunch time and started to install things and get it set up. Knowing that a few folks had seen image retention problems, I decided to use the test by Marco Arment to check my display.

Unfortunately, it failed with a noticeable retained pattern.

I set up a Genius Bar appointment for later in the afternoon. I talked to the Genius about what I saw and she said that because the unit was brand new, it made sense to just return it and get a new one rather than any sort of repair process. So far, so good.

We Don’t Have Any Available

The Genius told me that they didn’t have any of the same model iPad available for exchange (they didn’t have the other color, either). She was very apologetic and facilitated me returning the defective iPad, telling me that I should just order a new one online and that was going to be the quickest way to get a new unit.

That was a bummer, but not entirely unsurprising, since I knew supplies were short. What happened next was the surprise.

I left the store, went out to my car, and had a bright idea: I was about to drive across town for a meeting, putting me within a mile of another Apple Store (Bridgeport Village). I figured I’d fire up the Apple Store app and see if the other store had any iPads available.

They did. But the app also told me that Pioneer Place, the store I’d just left, had them available as well.

Apple Preventing Stores from Selling iPads Without Online Order

I walked back into the store and talked with two employees, explaining what I’d seen and asking for an explanation. They told me that they’re not able to sell the iPad mini with retina units unless they’ve been preordered online.

That’s right: they have the units in stock, but aren’t allowed to sell them to a customer who walks into the store and asks for one.

They suggested that I could order one online and that it would be ready for pickup, at that store, within an hour. They even offered to let me use the store’s computers to make the order. After a bit of back-and-forth conversation that basically consisted of me repeating WTF, I left the store as I needed to head across town.

Once back in my car, I ordered the iPad for pickup at Bridgeport, made the 45-minute drive, picked it up, and was on my way.

The new unit doesn’t have the screen retention problem.

WTF Hockley, or Facebook and Instagram Redux

tl;dr I (re)joined Facebook and Instagram.

I used to be in both places. Then, almost a year ago, I wrote a bit about deciding to leave both social networks. Without rehashing that entire post, I’ll say that it came down to being opposed to the behaviors of the company.

In the past year we’ve seen that Facebook and Instagram have continued being less-than-perfect. Alternatives have sprung up such as Pressgram1. Google has started using personal data for explicit advertising, a la Facebook.

We’ve learned that the NSA is watching everything, regardless of company.

By the numbers, most folks are still on Facebook and Instagram when compared with alternative networks. Popularity isn’t everything, but it is something.

In the past several months I’ve had a few personal and a couple professional opportunities missed due to my non-Facebook and non-Instagram stance.

I’ve changed my mind. I’ve decided that while I still disagree with many things about how Facebook / Instagram does business, I suspect that the benefits of having a presence will outweigh potential downsides.

Was I wrong a year ago? Maybe. Am I right now? Maybe. Am I confident in those answers? Maybe.

We’ll see. Let’s be all social networky.

Follow my mobile photography on Instagramn (@hockleyphoto), or add me as a friend on Facebook.


  1. Which I will continue to use. 

Seattle Talk on November 14th: From Domain to Fame

WordPress has that famed five-minute install, right? Right. And with most modern web hosts, it’s much quicker than that by using their control panel.

But installing WordPress is but one step in the overall process of launching a new website. Regardless of whether your new online venture is for a hobby or a business, there’s a lot more ot launching a new site than just making WordPress run.

That’s the topic for a talk I’m giving in a couple weeks at the Seattle WordPress Meetup. Join me on November 14th at TechStars.

Seattle Skyline as seen from Gas Works Park

Before the launch, you’ll want to think about how the site is structured and the design. You’ll need to plan for the initial content (both static and dynamic) that should be ready to go while still under wraps. And there should be some preparatory work to ensure that when you launch, someone knows.

On launch day, several things need to happen, and if they’re done in the wrong order it’s not hard to make a potentially embarrassing mistake.

Immediately after the launch, you’ll want to be ready with additional content and promotional steps to bring folks to the site and convert them in some way… whether that’s to a subscriber of some sort, a buyer, someone who’s sharing your content, or whatever other action it is that you hope for your visitors.

We’re going to walk through this in Seattle. Be there… or don’t. :)

Build up a Twitter Account’s Credibility with Strategic Event Tweeting

I’ve had my primary Twitter account, @ahockley, since February 2007 and have arguably tweeted too much since then (65,000 tweets and counting, baby)! I’ve used that account for general conversations as well as photography-related discussions.

Earlier this year I created a separate account as I began to strengthen my online presence in a different area of my life: software quality testing. I launched the Kwality Rules blog and the @KwalityRules Twitter account. I followed some folks in the industry and used the account sporadically.

A few weeks ago I attended STARWest, a major quality conference, and decided I’d use this as the catalyst to boost the profile of @KwalityRules. Here’s what I did.

Before the Event

  • Find the conference hashtag ahead of time. About two weeks prior to the conference, do a Twitter search for the hashtag and see if folks are starting to use it. Send out a tweet with the hashtag indicating that you’re attending and are looking forward to connecting with other attendees.
  • If your Twitter client supports it, set up a saved search view for the conference hashtag and start monitoring it as the event gets closer. If your Twitter client doesn’t support it, perhaps you need a better Twitter client. I like Tweetbot (Mac, iPhone, or iPad).
  • Those people that are using the hashtag and seem to be saying interesting things? Follow them. Perhaps send them an @mention indicating that you’re looking forward to meeting them at the event.
  • If you’ve reviewed the conference schedule and identified particularly noteworthy or interesting-sounding speakers, see if they use Twitter. If they do, follow them. An introduction isn’t a bad idea; let them know you’re looking forward to their talk.

At the Event

Remember: you’re at an in-person event so you should do things in person. Don’t just sit in your room or the corner all the time on your phone, tweeting away. That said, don’t forget to tweet! Here’s how I made my presence known at STARWest.

  • Don’t forget to use the hashtag when tweeting about the event or anything that might be relevant to attendees.
  • Set up a keyboard shortcut for the conference hashtag if it’s more than a couple characters. At STARWest, the hashtag was #starwest. Because I’m a lazy guy, I setup a shortcut on iOS such that when I typed stt it expanded into the hashtag. Didn’t have to go to the second keyboard for the # symbol, etc.
  • That Twitter search that I suggested you set up in advance? Use it. See what others are saying and reply as appropriate. Chime in with your two cents.
  • Retweet others who share interesting things. Retweets are love.
  • Tweet out notable quotes, facts, or things you found interesting from presentations you attended.
  • Tweet if a vendor has an especially interesting giveaway or demo at their booth. What’s interesting? I tweeted about the Sauce Labs robot that was playing Angry birds:

  • Attend informal gatherings. If there aren’t any, start one. Tweet out that you’re going to be at a certain bar or coffee shop at a particular time for a meetup with attendees. Don’t forget the hashtag. Someone will show up. Perhaps many someones. Host a lean coffee in the morning before the activities begin.

The Results

What happened as a result of all my Tweeting? A few things.

I was called out right after the opening keynote (along with @g33klady) as having been a very prolific tweeter, and we were given prizes for our tweeting[1]. As she noted, it’s a major award!

More importantly, I connected with other professionals in the field, including several industry leaders who saw my tweets, engaged in conversation, and followed me. This is the real value, and where building your Twitter presence at an event will lead to long-term relationships that can benefit your personal and professional development.

Twitter + events = a powerful combination.


  1. Let me know if there’s an appropriate use for the phrase “Award-winning tweeter” somewhere.  ↩