Tomahawk, WI 11/13/2013 (BasicsMedia) – Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL)’s highly storied iPad Mini went on sale on Nov. 12, to a warm reception, just like its sibling iPad Air which was released on the market earlier after a joint launch. The updated iPad asked for $399 on start price which is about $70 above last year’s iPad mini. At a start price of $399, the new iPad Mini is about $100 below its big brother iPad Air whose start price is about $499.

Shares of Apple soared up on the browser soon after the updated mini tablet went on sale. The devices are being offered in 40 countries for the start and it’s expected to be yet another revenue generator for the next quarter.

That Apple’s devices are often priced above its competitor’s means that the Cupertino-based company’s margins are higher. However, it does work to its disadvantage where the market is looking at the budget. For example, while the updated tablet iPad Mini asks for a start price of $399, its rivals Amazon (Kindle Fire) and Google (Nexus) are offering their tablets from $229. While Apple sells its devices top of the competition price, its selection of apps, cachet and design have often won the heart of the consumers, offsetting the high upfront cost in acquiring the gadgets. Already for iPad Mini, the company states that perhaps demand may surpass supply considering the long festive season ahead.

The market had been waiting for the new Apple devices – iPad Air and iPad Mini – and this could be seen on the decline in uptake of the older versions of these devices. While the company did not indicate clearly what improvements would go into the new devices, consumers, judging the Cupertino-based company from its history of surprising the market, felt that it would be against the norm for Apple to just make light changes in the devices. And indeed, Apple did make serious improvements right from device size, weight and display.

The new iPad Air now weighs significantly less than its earlier sibling while its size is almost maintained. Its display and speed are greatly enhanced offering higher resolution that before. On the other, the iPad Mini which went on selling Nov. 12, nearly 11 days after iPad Air, weights slightly higher than its older version but features improve display and speed.

In recent times, Apple has been facing growing competition in the smart-devices market. Although it still holds significant market share in key markets, its fortunes have dwindled. Its grip on the Chinese smartphone and tablet market has been on the decline, until last month when it showed signs of rebound in China, having climbed to the fifth spot due to increased uptake of iPhone 5C and 5S. Japan has been its quick resurgence region with its tablets controlling 50% on the tablet market in the region and smartphones controlling 36% of Japanese smartphone market. Apple’s North American market remains strong for both iPhones and iPads.

Given the brutal competition in the tech industry, Apple needs to lower its operation cost in the production of its latest devices so that it can realize higher margins. Increased market penetration is also vital for its rebound. Investors will be looking to see how the company handles the growing global competition for smart-devices. However, in overall, it has the technological ammunition to reclaim its spot as a top tech dividend and growth company.

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