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Unofficial Web tool tracks Retina iPad mini availability for U.S. Apple Stores

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 
With Apple's iPad mini with Retina display seeing severe supply constraints at launch, a Web-based tracking tool offering in-store pickup availability has popped up in a most peculiar place: a website dedicated to the conservation of sea turtles.



The Web tool, part of Seaturtle.org's iDevice Availability Notifier, shows a snapshot of Retina iPad mini availability for a number of Apple Stores across the country in an easy-to-read grid format.

At the time of this writing, the grid is mostly red, meaning Apple's hotly anticipated tablet is either sold out or not yet in available pickup at a majority of listed locations. Wi-Fi only models seem to be readily available in some areas, while Wi-Fi + Cellular versions are extremely limited, with only 64GB models up for grabs from select stores.

The site says its inventory checking methods use a "publicly accessible XML service on the Apple site" and notes no scraping techniques are employed. Last week, Apple forced the shut down of another web-based tracking tool for scraping data from the Online Apple Store.

As Seaturtle.org describes:

Availability of new iPad minis at US Apple Stores based on our latest checks. The number in each grid cell is minutes since that iPad mini/Apple Store combination was last checked. You can click on the cell contents to check current status. Green means it was available at the last check, red means it was not. White means we have not checked that combination (i.e. no one has requested a check of that combination).


While useful, the site has been showing sporadic error messages over the past few hours, though its data appears to be accurate when compared to the Online Apple Store. It should also be noted that not all U.S. stores are represented in the graph, which is provided as a public service by the website's owners.

As for why the sea turtle-centric Web entity has such a tracker, the site explains, "Because we are Apple fanboys and we want to know when our favorite iPhone model will be available! Also, SEATURTLE.ORG runs on Apple products. From the Xserve that powers this website, to the iMac where most of the programming happens, and the iDevices that allow us to keep tabs on the sea turtle world from where ever we are."
post #2 of 10
LOL This is an interesting site for this to be posted. I guess it'll bring plenty of attention to them which should be good.

I wish Apple didn't try to kill these helpful services with threats of litigation. I much rather they try to outsmart them if they want to keep them from parsing their site inventory info.
post #3 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by akqies View Post

LOL This is an interesting site for this to be posted. I guess it'll bring plenty of attention to them which should be good.

I wish Apple didn't try to kill these helpful services with threats of litigation. I much rather they try to outsmart them if they want to keep them from parsing their site inventory info.

I wish people complied with published terms of use.  Apple does not allow robots to harvest data from their Web site.

 

Having said that, it would be cool if Apple provided some beta/experimental/use at your own risk APIs so that people could build systems like this without Apple having to worry about people screen scraping their Web site.

post #4 of 10
Hmmm. Celebrities have stalkers; Apple has scrapers. Sounds like another case of erotomania.

I admit to being a Fanatical Moderate. I Disdain the Inane. Vyizderzominymororzizazizdenderizorziz?

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I admit to being a Fanatical Moderate. I Disdain the Inane. Vyizderzominymororzizazizdenderizorziz?

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post #5 of 10
I walked in to the store and asked the lad who greeted me if they received any shipments of the mini retina and he played dumb. Just doing his job I'm sure. So I hopped on one of the macs while I was there to check out 'pick-up availability' on the Official Apple Store and sure enough they had what I was looking for - a 64GB gray AT&T. Thought I scored a coup, but now reading this my bubble has burst since its the most readily available model. Oh well, I'm enjoying mine.

Agreed that web sites like these are nice to have and wish Apple wouldn't try to shut them down, but that's reality. I'm sure this web site will be pulling the search feature in roughly 2-3 weeks time once Apple catches wind of it. Apple should somehow make certain information about supplies available, but I just don't see it happening given how private and controlling they are. Other than the rogue sites that pop up, the only real way for us non-techie/developer types is to check the online Apple Store.
post #6 of 10

Cease and desist or face legal action from Apple in 3...2...

post #7 of 10
If you play with the URL you can find the main page and they will email you when the model you are looking for is available in your area.
http://www.seaturtle.org/idevice/

Also they have this nice disclaimer and explanation:
Why the heck does SEATURTLE.ORG have an iDevice checker?

Because we are Apple fanboys and we want to know when our favorite iPhone model will be available! Also, SEATURTLE.ORG runs on Apple products. From the Xserve that powers this website, to the iMac where most of the programming happens, and the iDevices that allow us to keep tabs on the sea turtle world from where ever we are.

Please note: we do not scrape the Apple website. We are using a publicly accessible XML service on the Apple site to determine iDevice availability.
post #8 of 10
Probably cause most people would buy 16 or 32GB models then they can just say there out of stock for the rest instead of saying that they're not being produced fast enought. WHY THE HELL IS SASMUNG ADVERTISING ON THE BOTTM OF THE SCREEN? I get enought of there crappy adverts every day.
post #9 of 10
They are going to be turned into turtle soup
post #10 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by scottjd View Post

 We are using a publicly accessible XML service on the Apple site to determine iDevice availability.

 

XML web service subtly modded for incompatibility in 3, 2...   ;)

Booga: "Elon Musk goes for the stars, [Ballmer] installs Windows on a basketball team's computers.  Sounds about right."
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Booga: "Elon Musk goes for the stars, [Ballmer] installs Windows on a basketball team's computers.  Sounds about right."
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