Apple iPad mini: Pricing, competition from Google, Amazon and more

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Tablets seem to be the flavour of the season. Most companies have already launched their offerings for the upcoming shopping season. All eyes are now set on Apple and its proposed iPad mini, which the company is expected to announce on October 23.

Recently the pricing details of Microsoft Surface tablet were leaked online and revealed that 32GB version of the Surface RT without the Touch Cover will go for $499, while the with cover version is for $599. This revelation has also got the world talking about what should be the apt pricing for an Apple iPad mini. Going by the leaks, the 8GB Wi-Fi only variants of iPad mini might cost €249, while the 16GB Wi-Fi iPad mini will cost €349.

To get a better perspective, we quiz a few analysts in regards to what according to them should be the price for Apple iPad mini and how bullish they are about this new tablet.

According to John Strand of Stand Consult, "I think Apple will price its iPad mini somewhere between the iPhone and the iPad as I believe that Apple need to increase the numbers of products and price points." Only logical. This means that the new iPad mini that Apple might be outing will range somewhere between $199 (which is the price for an iPhone 5 on contract) and $500 (the price of WiFi only iPad).

While Stephen Baker, Vice President of Industry Analysis for Consumer Technology is more specific number as he states that the price of the Apple iPad mini will start from $299.

Commenting on this, Richard Ptak, Co-founder and Managing Partner at Ptak, Noel & Associates says, "Apple will make a mistake if it tries to protect the iPod from cannibalisation by over-pricing the iPad mini. The 'Job's Mystique' convinced Apple aficionados that they were 'super cool' by paying big bucks for an Apple product. With Jobs gone, it's only a question of time before that mystique fades away. Everyone is expecting Cook to price the mini so that it will be more expensive than the iPod - I think it's quite possible the mini could come in at a lower price point, say $199 and blow away the market.

Ptak feels that if iPad mini is indeed at this price point, it would fly off-the-shelves. "It wouldn't be hard to see eight or even 12 Million units sold in a year if they come in at a low price point. Hell, even I might buy one then," jokes Ptak. On a serious note, he adds, "But if Apple iPad mini is priced at $325 or higher, the first year sales will be about 2.5 million to 5 million".

Baker of NPD refrained from giving any specific sales number for the new iPad mini but said, "I believe the mini will be a very strong seller in its segment".

Strand of Stand Consult however, is not very convinced about the sales potential of this tablet. As he puts it, "I believe that the majority of the consumers will go for the "real stuff" and buy the iPhone and the iPad. It will be interesting to see about it will cannibalise on the iPhone and the iPad sale or whether it will expand the market and Apple's market share".

There is no denying that there are plenty of tablet options available in the market and Apple iPad mini will have to face stiff competition from Google's Nexus 7 and Kindle Fire, so do the analysts feel that Apple's new device will be able to take the competition head on?

NPD's Baker does not feel that Apple doesn't need to worry about the competition. "Don't think Apple has to compete with the Kindle Fire or Google Nexus, I think they have to compete with (iPad mini). Once Apple comes out with a competitive product at a competitive price point those brands have to change from offering a lower cost alternative to the iPad to showing what they offer that is different from the iPad beyond just price, since Apple has now taken most of their price advantage away," he elaborates.

Ptak is not so convinced that Apple iPad mini will blow off the competition. He says, "I think Apple will be competitive. However, I'm not at all convinced it will blow away the competition, especially if they come in at a much higher price than the Fire or Nexus - we'll have to see what they finally deliver. The demand is for smaller, lighter, better quality, more features - still this is a 'low-end' tablet - Apple will have a (slightly) larger screen with less resolution - which argues against a much higher price and Apple can't afford to 'handicap' a low end product by cutting quality or reducing features."

Strand too feels that Apple should prepare itself for tough competition, "The tablet market will me more fragmented, as it is not the first mini tablet to hit the shelves. It will probably compete with Samsung and Kindles. I believe that Apple iPad mini will get tough competition. Kindle users are extreme loyal to Amazon and so are the users of Android."

We'll find out soon enough when Apple's iPad mini goes on sale. Are you looking forward to its release?

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