iPad Mini Prices, Specs Leak

Possible pricing and model variants for the iPad Mini suggest we'll see a wide range of price points and devices from which to select.
Would you pay $840 for an iPad Mini? Prices for Apple's unannounced, unconfirmed, and otherwise phantasmagoric tablet leaked over the weekend, and suggest that it could cost that much with all the bells and whistles.

The information comes from a leaked screenshot of an inventory system used by European and Asian cellular network operators and mobile handset vendors. The inventory system is widely used, so the leak could prove accurate in the long run.

Here's what the breakdown looks like. The iPad Mini will be sold in white and black variants. There will be no price difference between the two colors. The iPad Mini will be offered in a Wi-Fi-only configuration with storage capacities measuring 8 GB, 16 GB, 32 GB, and 64 GB. There will also be a version with cellular data and Wi-Fi, also offered in the same storage variants.

The price points reported for these different models are listed by the inventory system in Euros, not dollars. In terms of dollars, using today's exchange rate, the Wi-Fi models would cost $320, $450, $580, and $710 for the 8-, 16-, 32-, and 64-GB models, respectively. The cellular+Wi-Fi models would cost $450, $580, $710, and $840 for the 8-, 16-, 32-, and 64-GB models, respectively.

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These prices reflect a $130 premium for each storage jump, and a $130 premium for cellular data connectivity. In the U.S., Apple typically charges an extra $100 for each storage jump. For example, the 16-GB iPad costs $499 and the 32-GB iPad costs $599 (Wi-Fi only). U.S. iPads with cellular data cost $130 more than the Wi-Fi-only equivalent.

The entry-level iPad Mini model, which has Wi-Fi only and 8 GB of storage, comes in at $320, based on the numbers we have today. I doubt this would be the real price charged by Apple for such a device. First, I'd expect Apple to round it down to $299. That's the price point Apple is probably targeting.

Even that, however, is hard to reconcile with Apple's current device lineup. The iPod Touch, for example, costs $299. Does it seem right that a device with a 4-inch screen and a device with a 7.85-inch screen would cost the same?

Then there's the iPad 2 to consider. The iPad 2 is still for sale with a starting price of $399. Will Apple discontinue the iPad 2 once the iPad Mini goes on sale? That scenario makes the most sense to me, but you never know. If it does, Apple could offer the iPod Touch for $299, the iPad Mini for $399, and the iPad with Retina Display for $499 (all entry-level models).

But charging $399 for the iPad Mini makes it a hard sell against the $200 Google Nexus 7 and the $180 Amazon Kindle Fire.

What do you think Apple will charge for the iPad Mini?

Apple is expected to announce the device at a media event October 23.

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