Munster forecasts strong iPad Air sales, Apple matches Wal-mart's price cut

|About: Apple Inc. (AAPL)|By:, SA News Editor

Gene Munster spotted about 365 people in a line outside Apple's (AAPL -1.2%) flagship NYC store this morning to buy the iPad Air. That's less than the 580 spotted a year ago when the 4th-gen iPad and iPad Mini launched, but better than the Apple perma-bull feared.

Given the Mini and the 3rd-gen iPad each saw opening weekend sales of 3M while dealing with inventory constraints, Munster thinks weekend Air sales could be in the 2.5M-3.5M range, with sell-through of 1M-2M and channel fill of 1.5M.

Much as it has done with the iPhone 5C, Wal-mart is discounting the 16Gb Wi-Fi-only Air below its official retail price; the retail giant is selling the tablet for $479. Interestingly, Apple has joined Best Buy and Staples in matching Wal-mart's price cut.

The Air is launching to very good reviews, but (like the retina Mini) its pricing relative to comparable Android hardware has been criticized.

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