iPad Mini pricing rumored to start at $329

Apple's long-awaited iPad Mini will reportedly have a base price of $329

Apple's upcoming iPad Mini event is just two days away and the rumors surrounding the event continue to fly in at a furious pace. It's been reported over the past few days that Apple will use the upcoming event, set for this Wednesday October, 23, to not only introduce a new iPad model but to also unveil a refreshed Mac Mini alongside a new 13-inch MacBook Pro with a Retina Display.

Interesting stuff, but make no mistake about it - the star of this week's event is undoubtedly the iPad Mini, Apple's 7.85-inch take on its already popular iPad.

RELATED: Why Apple should price the iPad Mini at $199

iPad Mini update - Apple planning to manufacture 10 million units; Device will be Wi-Fi only

Now, given that the iPad Mini will be positioned to compete against the likes of tablets like the Google Nexus 7 and the Amazon Kindle Fire, there's been a lot of speculation surrounding pricing. Specifically, whether will Apple try and compete on price and effectively corner the market by introducing an aggressive pricepoint in the $199 - $250 range or try to maximize profits with a pricepoint in the $300+ range.

Previously, I argued that Apple would be advised to compete on price. To that end, a $199 base-level price for the iPad Mini would leave Google and co. scrambling to stay afloat. As it stands now, many people purchase non-Apple because they simply can't justify spending upwards of $499 for an iPad. Consequently, a $199 tablet from Google or Amazon becomes rather appealing and economical. It therefore makes sense for Apple to go after those demographic of users with a low buy-in point.

But Apple, as we all know, loves their healthy margins and it seems that the entry level iPad Mini will check in at $329.

9to5Mac reports:

Apple’s entry price for its upcoming smaller iPad is between the base model of the new, fifth-generation iPod touch ($299) and the currently shipping WiFi-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.

At $329, pricing is mighty high and I'm not so sure that an iPad at that price will attract many more consumers than the marked down iPad 2 for $399. In any event, 9to5Mac put together this iPad Mini pricing matrix which shows how Apple is likely to price various models of its upcoming tablet. Note that the iPad Mini, contrary to previous reports, will come with a cellular option.

I guess we'll find out soon enough how a) Apple will price the iPad Mini and b) if folks will be willing to fork over that much money for a smaller-screened iPad. 

In my opinion, if the above pricing matrix is accurate, Apple is making a mistake here. The market has spoken and many consumers are willing to forgo a larger screened tablet in exchange for a lower pricepoint. Apple's iPad Mini pricing should take this into account, but then again, Apple has always been one to go their own way and not be wholly influenced by the competition.

Either way, the tablet landscape this holiday shopping season, with both the iPad Mini and Microsoft Surface set to arrive, will be extremely interesting to watch.

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