iPad Mini stock dwindles, supplies to remain tight

Apple sells out of white iPad Mini within hours of pre-order kick-off

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Estimates of Apple's orders for iPad Minis have ranged from a low of 5 million to a high of 10 million. "The upper end is fairly typical of a launch of a tablet from Apple," Shim said.

It's unlikely that the iPad Mini's screen presents any technical problems to display makers: After all, its 1024-x-768-pixel resolution is nothing special, and in fact is the same as that of the first two generations of the full-figured iPad.

"It's not the resolution, which is fairly common to the iPad, but simply one of starting up a relationship with AUO," said Shim.

Yesterday, Apple CFO Peter Oppenheimer did not reveal the company's build plans for the iPad Mini, but did say, "[We] want to make a large number" of the tablets.

Both Oppenheimer and CEO Tim Cook also defended the Mini's opening price of $329 during Apple's quarterly earnings call.

"The iPad Mini has higher costs and the gross margin is significantly below our cooperate average [and] we're beginning [at] the higher cost curve," said Oppenheimer.

Cook was more explicit in his defense of the price when asked about former CEO Steve Jobs' famous rejection of smaller tablets. "We would not make one of the 7-in. tablets," said Cook. "We don't think they're good products, and we would never make one. [The iPad Mini] is not a compromised product like the 7-in. tablets. It's in a whole different league."

Analyst predictions of iPad Mini sales this quarter are across the map. Brian White of Topeka Capital Markets, for example, has set his target at 7 million for this year's fourth quarter, and said his estimate of 30 million for the 2013 fiscal year, which started Oct. 1, 2012, is conservative.

Brian Marshall, of the ISI Group, pegged iPad Mini sales for the fourth quarter at approximately 5 million, bringing in about $1.5 billion in revenue. "While an incremental positive, we do not expect it to meaningfully move the needle as we estimate iPad Mini will represent <3% of gross profits for the December 2012 quarter," he wrote in a note to clients earlier this week.

The iPad Mini is available for pre-order in 26 countries, including the U.S., Canada, France, Germany, Spain and the U.K. Retail sales will begin a week from today, Nov. 2, in 34 markets.

iPad Mini order
Although the white iPad Mini is already out of stock, the black configuration -- Apple calls it 'Black & Slate' -- was still available mid-day Friday, with delivery by Nov. 2.

Gregg Keizer covers Microsoft, security issues, Apple, Web browsers and general technology breaking news for Computerworld. Follow Gregg on Twitter at  @gkeizer, on Google+ or subscribe to Gregg's RSS feed . His email address is gkeizer@computerworld.com.

See more by Gregg Keizer on Computerworld.com.


Copyright © 2012 IDG Communications, Inc.

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