It’s been success after success for Apple product launches in recent times, with the iPad 3 selling three million units in the first three days of sale, and the iPhone 5 being shifted a whopping 5 million times in its opening weekend.
However, analysts are expecting are slightly more muted response to the launch of the iPad Mini, which hits stores today. Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster (who has a knack for getting these figures more-or-less correct), predicts 1.5 million iPad Mini’s to be sold during the opening weekend, around half as many as the full size iPad 3 managed at launch.
Not that Apple should be too worried; Munster is expecting the iPad Mini to be a slow burner that’ll pick up sales in the run-up to Christmas and beyond.
“We believe that over time that will change, and consumers will gradually realize the benefits of the smaller form factor iPad, which will drive adoption,” Munster said, “although it may not take form in lines for tomorrow’s launch.”
A few factors may contribute to the slow start for the smaller tablet. Firstly, Hurricane Sandy which has devastated the East Coast of America has forced many Apple stores to close, hurting potential launch sales. Secondly, the wait for the LTE enhanced version of the iPad Mini, launching mid-November, could put prospective buyers off. Lastly, there’s the increased marketing push from Amazon and Google for the Kindle Fire HD and Nexus 7 respectively, with Apple’s tablet for the first time entering a product category where others have already established themselves, as well as potential canibalised sales through the launch of the more powerful iPad 4 on the same day..
Time will tell is Apple’s slow-and-steady approach proves fruitful, or if the analysts slightly gloomy outlook proves premature.