iPad Mini Likely to Start at a Minimum of $329 in the US: Report

Sources tell 9to5Mac that Apple (AAPL)’s so-called iPad Mini, which is expected to be unveiled Oct. 23 and feature a 7.85-inch screen, smaller Lightning connector and up to 64GB of storage, will likely be priced at a minimum of $329 in the United States.

The report also quotes unnamed sources saying the two higher capacities of the smaller iPad will likely be priced at $100 premiums over each other at a minimum of $429 and $529, and be available in the WiFi-only configuration.

The various versions of the much-rumored iPad Mini are expected to be available in black or white casing options, and in 8GB, 16GB, 32GB and 64GB capacities with WiFi connectivity and cellular radios. Like the third-gen iPad, these models will come at a $130 premium over their corresponding storage capacity in the WiFi-only line, putting them at $459, $559, and $659.

Given the fact that the iPod touch pricing starts at $299 for a 32GB model, and the currently shipping WiFi-only for a 16GB iPad 2 starts at $399, the $329 entry-level price for the iPad Mini seems plausible. But again, these are only unconfirmed rumors at this point, and although 9to5Mac has an excellent track record of being spot on when it comes to inside tips regarding Apple, it’s possible that Cupertino’s base price for the smaller iPad could be higher. That said, only time will tell.

It’s worth noting that while the $329 entry-level price for the iPad Mini is considerably higher than the $199 entry level price of Google (GOOG)’s Nexus 7 and $159 price of Amazon (AMZN)’s Kindle Fire, with over 250,000 strong iPad-otimized offerings to choose from, large iTunes Music, and Apple’s well-integrated ecosystem of other products and accessories that allows all devices to communicate back and forth, the premium will definitely be worth the money.

The smaller iPad is expected to hit store shelves Nov. 2, in time for the lucrative holiday shopping season.

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