With the unveiling of Apple’s (AAPL) much rumored iPad mini in less than two weeks according to a recent report, a well-connected industry watcher who claims to have handled an early version of the new tablet says it “fits like a glove.” While touring the Far East and meeting with various unnamed manufacturing and supply chain contacts, Topeka Capital Markets analyst Brian White says he examined a “pilot” version of the new Apple tablet and he is now more bullish than ever.
“We uncovered over twenty suppliers that showed us accessories for the iPad Mini (some already have the accessories boxed, labeled and ready for order) and we actually had the opportunity to play with a pilot iPad Mini used by one of the vendors,” White recounted in a research note on Friday. “This 7.85-inch iPad Mini fit our hands like a glove and we were easily able to tuck the device in our sport coat, offering consumers a more mobile iPad experience for certain use cases.”
White noted that one supply chain source told him the new smaller iPad likely entered mass production this past week ahead of its imminent launch.
The analyst sees Apple’s new smaller iPad as an instant success, but he also thinks that in time, the iPad mini will outsell Apple’s current tablet model. “We expect 5 million to 7 million iPad Mini unit sales in the December quarter but ultimately we believe this new device will surpass the unit volumes of the regular-sized iPad,” White told clients. The new tablet is expected to be priced at either $249 or $299.
Topeka reiterated its Buy rating on Apple shares with a $1,111 12-month price target.