updated 09:20 pm EST, Tue January 22, 2013
Orders must be in by January 30 to ensure on-time delivery
Apple has launched a special Valentine's Day promotion for the upcoming holiday on its online store, highlighting the iPad and iPad mini as gift ideas along with an assortment of iPad accessory categories. Also featured is the company's iPod touch and iPod nano, augmented with offers of free shipping, free engraving and even a Valentine-themed Apple Store gift card good for hardware or software purchases at online and retail Apple Stores. The company has added a special webpage showing order delivery deadlines.
Of the suggested items, the iPad mini may be the most important one to order early, as its shipping time remains slightly constrained, offering one week shipping from ordering. The full-size iPad in all versions, along with the iPods, are listed simply as "in stock," meaning they will go out immediately.
Apple warns that iPad minis need to be ordered no later than January 30 to ensure on-time delivery, suggesting that the company believes supplies will be further constrained as the holiday approaches. The webpage also suggests that full-size iPad orders with free engraving should be ordered no later than February 1, though non-engraved models can wait until the 4th or 5th to be ordered.
Although the iMac is also listed on the deadline page, both models have "check your cart" warnings on them that suggest that delivery of even the 21.5-inch model is not assured before Valentine's Day unless ordered immediately, with customized iMacs ruled completely out for Valentine's Day delivery. The company has been facing an ongoing issue with limited supplies of the new, more complex iMacs -- particularly the 27-inch model which remains severely constrained. The problem is said to be due to the overall more-complex production techniques used in assembly, but primarily due to the full-screen lamination process that bonds the screen to the glass more closely than before.
Print books created through iPhoto, a popular option for gift-giving holidays such as this one, should be ordered no later than January 30 to ensure delivery. The company is including free shipping on any orders totalling over $50, and free laser engraving on any iOS devices bought through the online Apple Store. For last-minute shopper, Apple will offer an email-delivered gift card which can be ordered at any time, up to and including the day itself.