Think iPhone 5S is hard to find? iPad mini 2 Retina may be scarcer than gold

iPad mini 2 delay?
This may make a gold iPad mini 2 the most sought after tablet

Get ready to wait in long lines at the Apple Store if you want to buy the iPad mini 2 this year.

Apple's second-generation 7.9-inch tablet is thought to finally boast a high-resolution Retina display, but at the cost of availability.

The reason the iPad mini 2 may be sold in limited quantities this year is unknown, according to the supply chain sources who spoke to Reuters about the mass production delays.

However, the unnamed sources don't expect Apple will be able to meet the large volume that its consumers demand until 2014.

Shades of gold?

The expectation is that Apple will either delay the iPad mini 2 until next year or release the Retina-equipped tablet in limited quantities.

Apple reportedly tested out a non-Retina iPad mini 2, but that was thought to have been for more in-house development purposes only.

The result is likely to create more hysteria for the iPad mini 2 on launch day, much like there was when the company released an extremely limited number of gold iPhone 5S handsets.

At Apple Stores, first-in-line consumers took home the first five gold iPhone 5S phones at each store on average. Online, without a pre-order in place, the scarce color sold out in three minutes.

An even lower-priced iPad mini?

Apple really needs a high-resolution display to compete with the new Google Nexus 7 and forthcoming Amazon Kindle Fire HDX tablets.

These products already contain sharper screens than the first iPad mini, yet cost considerably less than what Apple is trying to upsell consumers.

That could lead to an iPad mini 2 with an entry-level 8GB of storage space to further reduce costs, according to today's report.

After all, Apple has been testing the waters with cheaper handsets in the plastic case of the iPhone 5C. Just don't expect it to be called the iPad mini 2C when and if it's announced on Oct. 15.

  • Read about our iOS 7 review, which should be updated to iOS 7.1 by the time iPad mini 2 launches.
Matt Swider