Apple's iPad Mini: Now in the Same Category as Precious Jewels


Remember when we were talking about how so few were lining up to buy Apple's (NAS: AAPL) new iPad Mini? Well, those days may be over. On Friday morning, the New York Post reported 3,600 iPad Minis were stolen from New York's John F. Kennedy Airport.

Not-so-good fellas
"The crooks struck shortly before midnight on Monday and used one of the airport's own forklifts to load two pallets of the tablet computers into a truck, according to law enforcement sources," the Post's Philip Messing and Josh Margolin wrote.

Apparently the job resembled the 1978 heist of $5 million in cash and $875,000 in precious jewels dramatized in the film GoodFellas. Only this time, the thieves were targeting tablets. They got away with two of five pallets, leaving three after an airport worker returning from dinner confronted the crooks, the Post reported.

Of course, we're only talking about 3,600 tablets at a time when even the most pessimistic of analysts figures on 32 million units sold industrywide during the holiday quarter, after selling 15.4 million iPads in last year's holiday quarter.

A drop in the digital bucket
Actually, that may be lowballing it. Apple sold 3 million iPads during the Mini's first weekend on sale, or roughly 1,785 tablets per minute. Over a 92-day quarter, that would amount to more than 100 million tabs sold. Unreasonable, you say? Of course it is -- opening weekend always brings out more buyers. But even if you slow the pace by a third, you still end up with 30 million tabs sold.

And that's in a quarter in which (NAS: AMZN) is heavily discounting the Kindle Fire and Microsoft (NAS: MSFT) has poured a big chunk of its ad budget into marketing the new Surface.

Which brings us back to the heist. Apple can't be happy to be out 3,600 Minis and the $1.5 million in lost sales they represent. But in a quarter in which the Mac maker could sell 100 times that, two pallets won't mean much. If anything, the theft confirms something we've suspected for a while now: Among crooks and consumers alike, Apple's iCandy devices are as sought after as precious jewels.

To be fair, we don't yet have a full accounting of the iPad Mini. Sales could disappoint, even if Apple's own component commitments suggest a record-breaking quarter is in the works. Either way, investors have a lot of information to digest. To help, we've added two bonus reports to our premium Apple research service. Each one addresses a different area of the Mac maker's business, and they're included -- right now -- at no additional charge. Learn more by clicking here.

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Fool contributor Tim Beyers is a member of the Motley Fool Rule Breakersstock-picking team and the Motley Fool Supernova Odyssey I mission. He owned shares of Apple at the time of publication. Check out Tim's Web home, portfolio holdings, and Foolish writings, or connect with him on Google+, Tumblr, or Twitter, where he goes by @milehighfool. You can also get his insights delivered directly to your RSS reader.The Motley Fool owns shares of Apple, Microsoft, and Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of Apple and, creating a bull call spread position in Apple, and creating a synthetic covered call position in Microsoft. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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