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Market Preview: iPad Mini Could Be Big Deal

As for Tuesday's scheduled news, Apple (AAPL - Get Report) will grab the spotlight with its latest media event that's widely anticipated result in the launch of iPad Mini. TheStreet is slated to live-blog the proceedings from San Jose, Calif. The stock rallied nearly 4% on Monday, a sign investors think the smaller tablet may be a big deal.

UBS analyst Steven Milunovich was out with bullish comments ahead of the launch, saying the product will go a long way to both bringing Apple new customers and keeping the ones it has. He has a buy rating and $780 price target.

"One small step for the iPad, one giant step for the ecosystem," he wrote. Creating barriers to exit is critical to Apple's long-term economic model. Offering a lower-priced tablet not only brings more consumers to Apple's ecosystem, it increases their exposure to higher-priced content and increases switching costs."

Milunovich noted that iPad owners typically spend much more on apps than folks with iPhones and said the iPad Mini could be a major step forward for Apple in Asia.

"The iPad generates 65% more revenue per app on average than does the iPhone," he said. "Excluding Asia, the disparity is greater with iPad revenue per download more than double than the iPhone. Using Apple's estimate of 80 apps downloaded per iOS device, including apps not on device, iPad paid app content would be $56-80."

"The next leg of Apple's growth likely must come from Asia, which was 40% of profit growth last year," he continued. "The risk is that the ecosystem pull is not as strong in Asia as users switch vendors more often and are less likely to pay for apps. Gross revenue per download is significantly lower in Asia, likely influenced by a lower mix of iPad users, less local paid content, and perhaps demographic issues. The iPad mini could help address these issues and improve Apple's stickiness in Asia."
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