Why the iPad Mini is overpriced

November 17, 2012

If you want an iPad Mini with 4G LTE, you need to shell over at least $459. That’s a hefty price tag for a tiny tablet. Even $329 for a WiFi model is expensive.

And even with that premium price tag for the 7.9-inch tablet, you’re not getting an ultra-sharp Retina display.

Now, to be fair, I’ve reviewed the iPad Mini and have been using it for a couple weeks now. And I absolutely love it. I have no complaints about the screen. It took my iPad 2 screen, which I say wasn’t the sharpest, and packed it into a display about two inches smaller. That makes it sharper to my eyes at least.

But could Apple have included a Retina display without increasing the price too much? The answer is yes. Kind of.

Cult of Mac analyzed what it would cost to add that ultra-sharp display to the iPad Mini. Their conclusion? $379 for a 16 GB model. Now, would you pay an extra $50 for that display? I probably would have.

As you can see above, the iPad mini’s low-res screen costs $80 between the display & touchscreen put together, or almost 24% of the total retail price of the iPad mini’s $329 entry level price. Expensive! But could we take the iPad mini’s lower-res, 1024 x 768 display and double the pixel density to Retina levels without significantly magnifying the cost?

Go and check out Cult of Mac’s piece — it’s really well done and very in-depth.

According to that report, it would cost Apple $246 to manufacture a Retina cost. If you priced it at the same 75 percent markup, you get that higher price.

All of this is pretty much moot. We all know Apple will release an iPad Mini with Retina display at the same low price ($329) next year. So why not make as much money now instead of later?

Apple’s iPad Mini with 4G LTE began shipping this week.

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