Analyst predicts Apple could sell 1.5 million iPad minis this weekend

There may be some competitors out there that hope Apple doesn't sell many of its new iPad mini tablets. I think, deep down, everyone knows that the tablet is going to be successful and sell in huge numbers no matter what the competition thinks. Analyst Gene Munster from Piper Jaffray believes that Apple is going to sell a significant amount of its new, smaller tablet over the weekend.

According to Munster, Apple will sell between 1 and 1.5 million iPad mini tablets this weekend alone. The tablet officially went on sale at retail locations today after being introduced two weeks ago. Some people already have their hands on pre-ordered tablets, but this weekend will mark the first time the tablet is in retail stores.

Munster does point out that his predicted 1,000,000 to 1.5 million iPad mini units sold is less than the 3 million units of the third-generation iPad the tablet sold back in March when it launched. The reason Munster doesn't expect the iPad mini to sell more than 1.5 million units over this weekend is because there will be no versions available with mobile broadband.

The version of the iPad mini packing a cellular modem won't be available until the middle of November. Munster also says that smaller tablets make up about one-fourth of the overall tablet market, so there will be less demand overall for the smaller iPad than for its larger brothers. Munster does believe that the popularity of the iPad mini will drive up the overall percentage of the global tablet market that small-screen units hold over the next few quarters.

Munster wrote, "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, although it may not take form in lines for tomorrow's launch. While we don't believe we will see it tomorrow, we believe the iPad Mini will gain momentum and become a more important product for Apple as consumers realize the benefits in portability and ease of use (one hand) from a smaller device size. We believe that the smaller tablet market has lacked the presence of a smaller iPad that brings the Apple ecosystem and brand to that market. We estimate that about 20-25% of total tablets are of the ~7″ variety, but expect that percentage to be driven up significantly by the iPad Mini over the next few quarters."

[via Barrons]