Apple 2.0

Covering the business that Steve Jobs built

How the market reacted to the iPad mini's starting price

October 23, 2012: 2:59 PM ET

It pushed Apple's shares, at high volume, right off a cliff

FORTUNE -- See in the chart at right the point shortly after 2 p.m. Eastern when Apple's (AAPL) share price does a bungee jump? That corresponds almost to the minute to senior vice president Phil Schiller's announcement of the price of an entry-level iPad mini: $329.

It's odd, because that was the price cited in the most-widely circulated rumor -- posted Saturday by 9to5Mac -- and well within the $249 - $399 range most analysts had predicted. Moreover, those same analysts predicted that the entry-level model would have only 8GB of memory, not the 16GB Apple announced on Tuesday.

It seems to me that if you were going to punish Apple Tuesday it would have been for the iPad sales number Tim Cook announced half an hour earlier: 100 million as of two weeks ago. That suggests that Apple sold at most 16 million iPads -- and probably closer to 15 -- in the quarter that ended Sept. 29. That's about 2.5 million less than the Street's consensus and more than 4 million less than the consensus of our panel of independent analysts. (See here.)

Revised estimates for Apple's Q4 earnings (due out Thursday) have already started to come in.

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Philip Elmer-Dewitt
Philip Elmer-DeWitt
Editor, Apple 2.0, Fortune

Philip Elmer-DeWitt has been following Apple since 1982, first for Time Magazine, and now on the Web for Fortune.com.

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