Splash! Sea turtle site shells out info on iPad Mini availability

You're probably asking, why would a site devoted to the protection of sea turtles launch an iDevice tracker? Here's why -- and how it might survive a challenge from Apple.

Lance Whitney Contributing Writer
Lance Whitney is a freelance technology writer and trainer and a former IT professional. He's written for Time, CNET, PCMag, and several other publications. He's the author of two tech books--one on Windows and another on LinkedIn.
Lance Whitney
2 min read
Screenshot by Lance Whitney/CNET

A new iPad Mini tracker has been launched by a surprising source.

SeaTurtle.org, which devotes most of its pages to the protection of sea turtles, can now tell you where to find one of the new iPad Minis. The site's iDevice Availability Notifier displays a grid of Apple stores listed alphabetically by state. The grid reveals which model Minis are available in which stores.

The page shows all of the Retina iPad Mini models from all carriers and in all capacities. A green cell means the tablet was in stock as of the last check, while a red cell means it's out of stock. You can also go directly to the iDevice Availability Notifier search panel, which lets you plug in a specific ZIP code as well as track down the new iPad Air and the iPhone 5S.

So, you're probably asking, why would a sea turtle site launch an iDevice tracker? Here's the site's response:

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.

Apple, though, is not too keen on unofficial, third-party sites that track the availability of the iPhone and iPad. The company recently issued a Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) takedown notice to an iPhone tracking site called iPhone-Check. As result, founder Mordy Tikotzky was forced to shut down iPhone-Check and a similar site named Apple-Tracker.

"I have a good faith belief that the the Web site identified by URL below is unlawful because, among other things, the page scrapes and collects data from apple.com in violation of the Apple.com Internet Service Terms of Use," the attorney wrote to Tikotzky.

Those specific terms could give SeaTurtle's iDevice Availability Notifier page a fighting chance. The site specificially states that it does not scrape the Apple Web site and instead uses a "publicly accessible XML service on the Apple site to determine iDevice availability."

(Via AppleInsider)