Tablet buyers may see the iPad 2 sink away as the iPad Mini prepares to surface, according to Evercore Partners analyst Rob Cihra.
Chira has said that he thinks Apple could phase out the iPad 2, as 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 23 October.
Launched in March 2011, the 16GB iPad 2 is currently available through Apple at a price of AU$429 for the Wi-Fi only version, and AU$569 for the Wi-Fi + 3G version. In contrast, the new iPad starts at a price of AU$539 for the 16GB Wi-Fi version, and shoots up to AU$829 for the 64GB model with Wi-Fi and 4G.
Apple has teased at a smaller iPad, saying "We've got a little more to show you" on the invites for the 23 October 23. But the company hasn't yet officially announced any such device, so there's been only speculation about it. Some reports have said that the smaller tablet will sport a 7.85-inch screen, with the entry-level model offering 8GB of storage, Wi-Fi only access and a price tag of $249.
A few rumours have pinned 2 November as the date that 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 that Apple will sell close to 7 million iPad Mini devices in the current quarter, adding up to a total iPad sales of 26 million.
Looking at last quarter, he's estimating iPad sales of 17 million. That number falls just under the consensus found among 61 analysts that were 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 25 October.