Tablet buyers may see the iPad 2 sink away as the iPad Mini prepares to surface, says Evercore Partners analyst Rob Cihra.
Chira said he thinks Apple could phase out the iPad 2 because the company's vision leads toward "clearer product tiers," according to AppleInsider. Apple is expected to unveil the iPad Mini at a launch event on October 23.
Launched in March 2011, the 16GB iPad 2 is currently available through Apple at a price of $399 for the Wi-Fi only version and $529 for the Wi-Fi + 3G edition. In contrast, the new iPad starts at a price of $499 for the 16GB Wi-Fi version and shoots up to $829 for the 64GB model with Wi-Fi and 4G.
Apple has teased at a smaller iPad, using the term "we've got a little more to show you" on the invites for the October 23 event. But the company hasn't yet officially announced any such device, so there's been only speculation about it. Some reports say the smaller tablet will sport a 7.85-inch screen with the entry-level model offering 8GB of storage and Wi-Fi only access and a price tag of $249.
A few rumors have pinned November 2 as the date the new tablet will go on sale. A "source close to Apple's supply chain" reportedly confirmed that date to TechCrunch as well.
Cihra predicts Apple will sell close to 7 million iPad Mini devices in the current quarter, adding up to total iPad sales of 26 million.
Looking at last quarter, he's estimating iPad sales of 17 million. That's just under a consensus found among 61 analysts polled by Fortune. With a low of 14.8 million and a high 23 million, the average forecast among the analysts was 18.38 million, while the median was 18.13 million.
Apple is set to report its latest quarterly sales and earnings on October 25.