updated 11:30 pm EST, Mon December 2, 2013
Top iPads and iPhones must be ordered early to ensure holiday delivery
Apple has now posted its deadline dates for online orders so that the company can guarantee delivery by Christmas Eve, and has announced free standard shipping on all online store orders during the holiday season. Customers who want a Retina iPad mini have the earliest deadline, with December 5 being the cut-off date. December 9 is the deadline for iPad Air models, iPhone 5s order must be in by December 12, and most other orders should be in by December 18.
Apple made the same offer last year, whereas in years past it had offered free shipping only to orders over $50. Free next-day shipping will be available to late shoppers on in-stock items.
In addition to the listed early deadlines for the company's top-selling products, users who want to order engraved items or custom-configured Macs should expect deadlines to be a day or two earlier, depending on the product. The forthcoming Mac Pro is not listed among the holiday deadlines at all, suggesting that it will debut too close to or after Christmas to be deliverable.
Other Apple products, such as mailed-out Apple or iTunes gift cards, must be ordered by December 12 (electronic versions can be delivered within 24 hours). The same date applies for Apple's iPhoto- or Aperture-based print products (books, calendars and cards) as a deadline for guaranteed Christmas delivery.