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While some balk at iPad mini price tag, analysts are impressed

iPad Mini LTE Release Date

Rumors dating back more than a year suggested Apple (AAPL) was working on a new entry-level iPad, and for 12 months industry watchers pegged the slate’s starting price at either $249 or $299. When Apple finally took the wraps off the iPad mini on Tuesday, response to the starting price of $329 on social networks and  blogs varied. Apple bulls were impressed nonetheless, and some analysts even raised their price targets on shares of Apple stock in anticipation of a big holiday season.

“We believe the iPad Mini has raised the bar relative to lower-priced competing tablets with impressive hardware specifications, competitive pricing, and the leading software ecosystem that includes over 275k iPad-specific applications, Cannacord Genuity’s Michael Walkley wrote in a note to investors on Wednesday. “The iPad Mini hardware specs include: 4G LTE support, A5 processor, 7.9″ display at 1024×768 resolution, iSight 5mp rear-facing camera, FaceTime HD front camera, and 10 hrs (9 hrs – 4G LTE) battery life.”

He continued, “In addition, we believe Apple’s pricing of the iPad Mini ($329 for WiFi-only, $459 for 4G base models) will enable Apple to maintain dominant share of the growing tablet market by providing better hardware and a much more integrated and robust user experience at competitive pricing versus lower priced competing tablets.” Walkley upped his price target on Apple stock to $800 from an earlier target of $797.

RBC Capital Markets’ Amit Daryanani was also impressed, noting that Apple could ship between 6 million and 8 million iPad mini tablets.

“AAPL launched their 7.9” tablet with a $329 price-point. The device is slightly larger than Android tablets in market it is also substantially thinner and lighter,” Daryanani wrote in a note to clients Wednesday morning. “The Mini weighs in at 0.68 lbs (53% lighter than iPad Gen 4) and is 7.2mm thick. Pre-orders begin Oct-26th with shipments on November 2nd. Pricing begins at $329 (16GB) moving-up to $429 (32GB) and $529 for the (64GB) model. We estimate AAPL could ship 6-8M iPad mini’s adding $2-2.5B in revenues. Also, much of the guts of the iPad mini from iPad 2 implies Bill-Of-Materials may be lower.”

Daryanani maintains his Outperform rating on shares of Apple stock and reiterated his $750 price target.

Zach Epstein

Zach Epstein has worked in and around ICT for more than 15 years, first in marketing and business development with two private telcos, then as a writer and editor covering business news, consumer electronics and telecommunications. Zach’s work has been quoted by countless top news publications in the US and around the world. He was also recently named one of the world's top-10 “power mobile influencers” by Forbes, as well as one of Inc. Magazine's top-30 Internet of Things experts.

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