Brisk sales and ensuing inventory shortages are not uncommon for just-introduced Apple products, but some experts have predicted that the iPad Mini will be in especially short supply through the end of the year because Apple brought a new display manufacturer, Taiwan's AU Optronics (AUO), on board. The iPad Mini sports a two-week backorder as of Monday; the fourth-generation iPad ships in three to five days after ordering.
Marshall forecast sales of 5 million iPad Mini tablets this quarter, while White predicted Apple would sell 30 million units of the diminutive tablet in Apple's fiscal year 2013, which started Sept. 30, 2012, and runs through late Sept. 2013.
Most analysts see the iPad Mini as Apple's answer -- albeit not a direct one -- to the smaller, cheaper tablets sold by Amazon and Google, and a prime component of its strategy to stymie rivals' sales.
White said there was evidence that Apple was, to some extent, doing just that. "In our exit survey, 48 percent of the respondents did not own a tablet previously, versus 52 percent that owned a tablet," said White on Monday. "Of those [who] owned a tablet, 68 percent owned an iPad and 32 percent used a non-iPad tablet. Apple appears to be tapping into new iPad customers with the lower-priced iPad Mini."
The iPad Mini is priced between $329 and $529 for the Wi-Fi model. The 3G/LTE-capable iPad Minis will be sold at prices from $459 to $659. In the U.S., the cellular models will be available for AT&T's, Sprint's and Verizon's networks.
Gregg Keizer covers Microsoft, security issues, Apple, Web browsers and general technology breaking news for Computerworld. Follow Gregg on Twitter at @gkeizer, or subscribe to Gregg's RSS feed. His email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
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