By Alexandra Burlacu | Oct 22, 2012 12:18 PM EDT
The much-rumored iPad Mini has Apple enthusiasts on their toes, and pricing leaks, rumors and speculation leave the impression of an endless roller-coaster.
Apple's downsized version of its popular iPad is widely expected to make its debut on Tuesday, Oct. 23. A number of recent reports have taken a shot at pegging the price of the iPad Mini, and estimates range from $299 to $349.
According to an Apple Insider report on Saturday, Oct. 20, KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo said in a research note to investors that the estimated bill of materials (BOM) plus manufacturing costs for the iPad Mini will range from $195 for the 16GB Wi-Fi model to $254.50 for the high-end 64GB version with 4G LTE.
Meanwhile, 9to5Mac also exclusively reported on Saturday that Apple's starting price for its upcoming iPad Mini is between the fifth-generation iPod Touch ($299) and the Wi-Fi-only 16GB iPad 2 ($399).
"According to our sources, the base model of the smaller iPad will likely be priced at a minimum of $329 in the United States," reported the Apple-centric publication.
"Two higher capacities of the smaller iPad will be available in the WiFi-only configuration. These will likely be priced at $100 premiums over each other at a minimum of $429 and $529. It is possible that this base price for the smaller iPad could be higher, but our best guess is $329," 9to5Mac wrote.
CNET, however, believes that the iPod Touch price point suggests the iPad Mini could not come with a price tag lower than $349.
"In what universe could Apple charge $249 or even $299 for an iPad when a virtually identical device with a much smaller screen already sells for $299? Consequently, I'm guessing the iPad Mini will start at $349, and quite possibly $399," wrote CNET's Rick Broida.
A starting price above $300 is considerably higher than the entry-level price of competing Android tablets such as Google's Nexus 7 and Amazon's Kindle Fire. On the other hand, Apple's 250,000 iPad optimized apps, large iTunes Music, TV Show, Podcast, and Movie collections, its digital book reading and purchasing via iBooks, as well as its large, integrated ecosystem of products and accessories may appeal to plenty of shoppers this holiday season.
Apple is expected to unveil the iPad Mini at an event on Oct. 23, and the new device is rumored to hit retail stores and start shipping to early buyers on Nov. 2.
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