Would You Pay More Than $299 for an iPad Mini?
Recent reports suggest that Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) will charge between $320 and $329 for its upcoming seven-inch tablet. Compared to its $199 competitors from Amazon (NASDAQ: AMZN), Google (NASDAQ: GOOG) and Barnes & Noble (NYSE: BKS), the iPad Mini sounds very expensive.
But is it too expensive to entice consumers and become the number-one selling seven-inch tablet?
At $329, the iPad Mini would retail for only $30 more than the four-inch iPod Touch. This could make it a much more appealing device for consumers who want more bang for their buck. Keep in mind that Apple is unlikely to cannibalize sales of the iPod Touch to sell more tablets. Thus, the iPad Mini is likely to feature a smaller amount of memory than the iPod Touch, which now comes with 32GB of storage space.
Memory may not be the only way that Apple plans to separate these products. The iPad Mini will be an iOS device, so it cannot feature any unique software elements that are not available on the existing iPad or iPod Touch. The device could be the thinnest device next to the iPhone 5, which would give it a certain "cool" factor that no other tablet possesses.
Apple could feasibly push the boundaries even further and make the iPad Mini thinner than the iPhone 5. This would justify the higher price, since Apple could market the device as being far more advanced than its competitors. Apple could also use this as an excuse to refer to the device as an iPad Air, which some analysts believe will be the official name.
While the third-generation iPad is designed to replace laptops for everyday functions, the iPad Mini could be promoted as the perfect companion to the MacBook Air. It could borrow design cues and offer a similar look and feel.
As a result, the existing iPad would continue to be viewed as a giant iPhone. On the other hand, the iPad Mini would now be viewed as a pint-sized MacBook Air. This could help Apple further differentiate between its products and their varying price points.
This might not be enough, however. While an Air-like iPad may be more attractive than leaked images indicate, the $329 price tag might be hard for some consumers to swallow. If they can get a full-size iPad for $170 more, they might be tempted to do so.
Though unlikely, that could be Apple's goal -- to make the existing iPad seem more appealing.
Of course, at least one analyst believes that Apple will raise the price of the third-generation iPad (as well as the iPad 2) before the iPad Mini is released. This could make the price of the new device seem much more attractive -- or simply enrage consumers who can no longer acquire a third-generation iPad for $499.
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