Apple Inc. (AAPL) iPad Mini Faces Tough Competition

Apple Inc. (AAPL) iPad Mini Faces Tough Competition

Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) announced the iPad mini on Tuesday October 23rd in a live event in San Jose, California. Aside from iPad mini, Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) also introduced the new 13” MacBook Pro (Retina Display), iMac, Mac mini, and 4th gen iPad. iPad mini pre-orders will start on 10/26, with actual shipping on 11/2, or after, in 34 markets.

Apple Inc. (AAPL) iPad Mini Faces Tough Competition

According to a report from BAML, iPad mini validates the opportunity in smaller form factor tablets and should further intensify competition in the low-end segment. The pricing is slightly higher than expected at $329+, but it’s reasonable to assume that the iPad 2 will likely be phased out at some point. iPad mini helps expand Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL)’s opportunity in the tablet market, and its media ecosystem positions the iPad mini well vs. low-end tablets. This could be a great holiday seller and provides some upside, likely small, to BAML’s unadjusted model.

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Here is a brief detail on products announced in Apple’s event:

Apple’s iPad mini features 7.9” display (same resolution as iPad 2), A5 chip (same as iPad 2) and LTE support (pricing range of $329-659). iPad 3 is updated with an A6X chip, expanded LTE support and Lightning connectivity at the same prior price range ($499-829). While, iMac is updated with thinner display (5mm) and hybrid HDD with auto-tiering (available in Nov-Dec; $1,299-1,799+). 13” retina MacBook Pro follows Apple’s introduction of the 15” retina MacBook Pro in June (available today; $1,699+).

Impact on Competitors:

Apple’s announcement is a stronger counter to other 7” tablet offerings, such as the Amazon Kindle HD and the Nexus 7 sold by Google (and made by Asus). Amazon sold 1.3M Kindle Fire Tablets in CQ2 (vs. 17M iPads sold). The Kindle Fire is 7.4” and sells for $159 for an 8GB version. Other competitive products include the Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 7.0 (7.6”) and Barnes & Noble Nook HD (7.7”). Still, these competitive offerings have a meaningful price advantage over AAPL in the 7-8” tablet market.

According to Piper Jaffray’s analysts Gene Munster and Douglas J. Clinton,  Apple’s iPad Mini gives a greater confidence that iPad will become a bigger part of the company’s story moving forward. They believe that the main feature of the new iPad Mini is price, followed by size. While it was also mentioned in the report that some investors may claim this is a departure from innovating on technology for Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL), but they believe it is how Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) furthers markets in which it is dominant, using the iPod as a historical precedent.

Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) stock dove down from $630 to $615, close to 2 pm EST on Tuesday, just as the iPad mini was being unveiled in the San Jose, California.

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