Apple expected to sell 1.5 million iPad minis this weekend

All eyes will be on Apple tomorrow, as the iPad mini officially launches. It’s a new product for the company, and a new market, so pundits and analysts alike are anxious to see how the 7.9-inch tablet fairs.

Starting at $329, a lot of people think it’s overpriced. And with its A5 processor and no Retina display, it’s been described as outdated. But that doesn’t mean that Apple won’t sell a ton of them this weekend…

Opening weekend is crucial for any new product, particular for Apple. If it doesn’t release some kind of announcement on Monday talking about how “blown away” they are by customer response to the iPad mini, you can bet that the “Apple is doomed” crowd will be out in full force. And right now, it doesn’t look good.

Gene Munster, an analyst from Piper Jaffray, believes that Apple is only going to sell between 1 and 1.5 million minis this weekend. That’s just about half of the 3 million iPad 3’s Apple sold in its first 3 days.

There’s a few reasons, though, for his reserved predictions. For one, Apple is only launching the Wi-Fi model of the iPad mini this weekend. So folks waiting for the + cellular version won’t be lining up at stores.

And it’s only been 6 months since Apple launched its last tablet, so the shorter refresh cycle could contribute to fewer sales. As could the fact that many in the NE US are still without power and transportation.

It’s also worth noting that Apple only sold around 300,000 first-gen iPads, and around a million iPad 2s during their opening weekends. So you’d think anything above that would be a bit of an accomplishment.

At any rate, make sure you join us tomorrow for all of the usual launch day festivities. We’ll be providing unboxings of the tablet, giving our initial opinions, and covering all other mini launch day news.

What do you think, will Apple beat the predictions this weekend with iPad mini sales?