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Apple shipments of LTE iPad mini coming next week

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Apple has confirmed that it will begin shipping the cellular versions of its latest, smallest tablet.

On Friday, the company posted shipping estimates on the LTE version of the tablet, after having said earlier that the models would start being sent a couple of weeks after the WiFi version debuted in stores.

After the first weekend of sales, Apple reported that consumers snapped up 3 million models of the iPad mini and the fourth-generation iPad. Analysts indicated they believe the lion’s share of those sales were for the iPad mini, though Apple did not break down the numbers in its release.

Apple still hasn’t given a firm date for when it will ship the LTE iPads, or when they will be coming to a store near you. The tablet has a 7.9-inch screen and starts at a price of $329. The LTE versions start at $459 and require a data plan with Sprint, Verizon or AT&T.

Meanwhile, iPhone 5 shipments are catching up with demand, AppleInsider reported, and may be immediately available in the coming weeks. The report cites Piper Jaffray’s Gene Munster, who surveyed the supply rooms at 100 Apple stores for iPhone models compatible with AT&T, Verizon and Sprint networks. Apple had the most Sprint models on hand, followed by AT&T and Verizon

In an analyst’s note obtained by the blog, Munster said this was a “important step for Apple” and that the current trends indicate that it many only be “2-3” weeks before the iPhone 5 is consistently available in stores.

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