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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