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iPad Mini Rumored to Start at $329 – Nope

There’s a new rumor going around today the iPad Mini, and just let me start this post by saying the rumor is almost certainly not true.

9to5Mac is reporting that they have new details on the iPad Mini prices. According to their sources, Apple’s smaller tablet is going to be priced at $329 and up. Their sources go on to add that the 3G models will cost $130 more than the comparable Wifi models.

Needless to say, I’m going to bet that this rumor is wrong.

We’ve already seen a leak from Germany showing that the European price will be 249 euros. Assuming Apple prices the iPad Mini like they have priced their past gadgets, the US retail price will be $249. Yes, I know that the conversion is off, but the European price includes taxes as well as a premium to cover the higher cost of doing business in Europe. It’s also how Apple has always rigged their prices ($ = €).

The main reason I don’t believe the rumored $329 price tag is that when you do a straight conversion of the 249 € price you end up with $324.  That’s just not how Apple does things, so if 9to5Mac is correct then the older leak is wrong.

Also, do you really think Apple could sell a $329 iPad Mini when it had to compete with a $199 Kindle Fire HD? I don’t, and that goes double when you factor in the rumored amount of storage (8GB vs 16GB).

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cookie October 20, 2012 um 4:29 pm

do you really think Apple could sell a $329 iPad Mini when it had to compete with a $199 Kindle Fire HD?

Not if they are putting a relatively crappy screen on it

Nate Hoffelder October 20, 2012 um 4:56 pm

Correct. It would have to be a Retina screen, and it would also have to beat the resolution of the Nook HD and KFHD (both of which are selling for $200). Good luck with that.

fjtorres October 20, 2012 um 7:22 pm

At $329 it would be coming in higher than FireHD9 and the NookHD+ 32GB.
I know the Apple Logo supposedly adds a *lot* of (perceived) value but I’m not sure even the faithful would buy an XGA screen at that price.

Sweetpea October 22, 2012 um 8:50 am

Yes, I think Apple could sell it at that price, simply because a lot of Apple buyers don’t look at the price, only at the logo…

Tim Gray October 21, 2012 um 3:52 am

The emerging picture seems to be of the iPad 2 repackaged in a smaller format as the more portable, lower cost version of the iPad, with the new iPad slightly repositioned as the deluxe model. So keeping the cost down has to be part of the equation. I reckon they could shift it here for £250 with 16GB. For comparison, the 16GB Nexus 7 is £199. (If Apple is listening, lower would be better!)

Lyman October 21, 2012 um 3:22 pm

Quite likely the $249 price is wrong. $329 may not be wrong also but $249 is are more likely wrong.

1. There is a huge assumption that the numbers being put into that German inventory system were correct as opposed to just placeholders ( or just a stunt). Apple, generally doesn’t announce brand new products to external folks unless under extremely restrictive NDA constraints. There is no way a retailers inventory system comes under the disclosure boundaries of that sort of agreement This isn’t an update of a new product, it is a brand new Apple product.

Latest rumors place the iPad mini up for sale more than a week after the announcement even directly from Apple. There is almost zero need to put a secret device’s price into an general employee access system 3 weeks before can even get the product. A placeholder? Perhaps. Detailed pricing? no. Apple isn’t likely to even ship them any devices until later in November anyway.

2. Apple prices their products relative to Apple products before any consideration of other competitors products. The notion that Apple "has to" respond to $199, 'at cost' , 7″ tablets is not how Apple operates. Apple isn’t going to throw profit margins out the window just because other company’s have.

Apple already sells what is effectively a 4″ tablet; the iPod Touch. The latest new version of that device costs $299. The notion that Apple is going to sell an effectively an 8″ tablet at $249 and a 4″ tablet at $299 is deeply flawed. It is most likely that Apple will have used extremely similar measures to reduce size/weight/thickness on the iPad mini as on the iPod Touch. So hand waving about "higher miniaturization costs for the Touch" are likely inconsequential. Likewise te hand waving about Apple’s purchasing power getting them 30-40% lower costs than competitors. Certainly isn’t present in the iPad Touch’s $299 pricing.

The $249 iPad mini is largely wishful thinking that somehow the market has pushed Apple into a position where they had to deeply lower their margins. There is little in the mainstream market that supports this though. Outside of the blog, tech specs, and blogging crowd it just doesn’t have as much traction.

3. The other primary issue is that the iPad mini is not a 7″ tablet. It is effectively at 8″ one. It isn’t going to compete on weight with the 7″ offerings from Amazon/Nexus/BN/etc. (aluminum vs plastic almost assures a loss on this aspective even if the iPad mini was the same size. It is bigger). It isn’t going to compete as much on "ease of one handed" operation as those offerings. The competitor for the iPad mini is the Amazon Fire 8.9″ HD , Nook HD+ , and some other 8-9″ offerings.

At $299-329-399 it is right there with those other, similar sized models, $269-369 range.

The iPad mini is there so they can deploy something more effective than the iPad 2 for more price sensitive buyers. $299-$329 is a 17-25% decrease in price which will have a substantive impact on generating new demand for the iPad family.

Like the iPad 2 it will likely have two cameras instead of one (as this discount alternatives do). Integrated touch screen for thinness. Higher than iPad 2 dpi ( same pixel dimensions in a smaller space means higher ppi. ; likely 163 which is a 23% improvement over iPad 2 ). This version may not get Retina spin, but it will be quite good. (e.g., the standard e-ink before this year was Pearl’s 167 ppi. That density didn’t not inhibit reading for the last 2-3 years. The iPad mini wouldn’t either. )

4. Apple typically doesn’t do oddball pricing. That primarily OCD but they typically stick rather closely to it. $__99 or $__49 are more typical Apple price points and are substantively more competitive than the $399 iPad 2. If $299 is too low to provide them their margin then maybe they had to go with a $329 compromise because they wouldn’t compromise on components (e.g., 2nd camera ) . There was a stripped down iPod nano with a $129 price at some point to it isn’t completely unprecedented.

If Apple wanted to send a "price shot across the bow" it would be $299. They’d offset against the 4″ Touch with substantive lower Flash storage than the Touch. There is a 20% gap between $249 and $299. With some pricing power leverage Apple could probably squeeze 30% out of that.

Nate Hoffelder October 21, 2012 um 11:06 pm

You could well be right. It makes as little sense for a German retailer to know the prices of the iPad Mini as it would for the Swedish one which reportedly posted the prices for the Surface tablet. That was bunk.

On the other hand, MediaMarkt is going to be among the first to sell the iPad Mini. Also, it’s not entirely impossible for Apple to have priced the iPad Mini that low in order to compete with the Kindle Fire HD.

Tim Gray October 22, 2012 um 11:34 am

I did a blog post here, pulling together some stuff from this site and others with my own speculations. I think pricing comes down to how much Apple wants to capture market share for content. If it thinks we’re in a crucial time for determining content dominance, which is pretty plausible, it could use its deep pockets and format advantages to take some bites out of Amazon.

Lyman October 23, 2012 um 3:25 pm

I was off on the weight. Not sure how they trimmed off that much weight but this is actually less than a Nexus 7. 308 grams (0.68 lbs) versus 340 grams . I thought Apple would come in about 380-400 grams so that is surprising. (They even just kicked B&N in the shins. Nook HD 318 grams … their ad tagline of "lightest" just crumbled a bit before it even got to market!!!! )

I still think the "every inch an iPad" is still positioning this against other 8-9″ tablets. Apple is competing against the 7″ because they are still making the case that screen is too small. Sure they clowned the Nexus 7″ during the key note , but the Nexus 10″ (and the other 8-9″ tablets) with phone screen layout apps would be just as equally clowned by them. They made the case for more content on the screen so better content enjoyment experience so implicitly higher pricing justification.

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