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Apple faces repeat of iMac sales fiasco if Retina iPad Mini supplies are tight

Gregg Keizer | Oct. 3, 2013
But the company may see no way around not introducing it this month

Apple would face the same potential disaster this year if the iPad Mini with Retina was shown to the public, but put on the "do-not-sell" list. In fact, the impact would be greater, since the iPad contributes a much larger percentage of total revenue than does the Mac, and the iPad Mini has been the hottest seller in that line.

But Apple would have a tough time not trotting out a higher-resolution iPad Mini, said Ezra Gottheil of Technology Business Research.

"I think they may want to introduce the Retina [iPad Mini], even if supplies are very tight," said Gottheil in an interview today. "As I see it, the important part of the product line is the non-Retina iPad Mini. Without introducing a Retina screen model, it would look odd to market the non-Retina. And it would be a difficult SKU to sell."

That's because Gottheil, like most analysts, anticipates that Apple will retain the original at a lower price when the company does launch a Retina iPad Mini. Apple has used the same strategy for its full-sized iPad — the firm still sells 2011's iPad 2, for instance — and until this year, its iPhone line-up.

"At $249, the original iPad Mini would produce a real surge in sales, and put a real dent in the Nexus 7," said Gottheil, referring to Google's 7-in. Android tablet. "At $299, it would still sell well. Their challenge right now is to bring down the price while still making its traditional margins."

Apple would probably price a Retina iPad Mini at the same $349 it now uses on the first-generation tablet, Gottheil noted, again citing precedence.


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