One analyst believes that the rumored new iPad Mini may actually cause the iPad 2 to get phased out of Apple’s product line entirely in an effort to preserve their overall vision for streamlined, clearly defined product tiers.

Rob Cihra with Evercore Partners said that the iPad 2, which dropped to $399 retail after the release of the new iPad, will likely be removed from the lineup as the iPad Mini joins the ranks to provide a more affordable entry level price into the iPad lineup. Phasing out the iPad 2 could potentially drive higher unit sales of the iPad Mini.

Cihra estimates approximately 7 million unit sales of the iPad Mini during the 4th quarter of 2012, and a total of 26 million iPad units overall. Added to the estimated 49 million iPhone unit sales, he expects Apple to post $56.1 billion in revenue during this quarter, amounting to approximately $16.33 in earnings per share.

For the third quarter that just ended in September, he believes Apple will report sales of 27 million iPhones, 17 million iPads, 4.9 million Macs and 5.7 million iPods, resulting in revenue of $36.5 billion. His estimates are slightly higher than that of other analysts, who on average are expecting $36.4 billion in revenue for the third quarter.

The iPad Mini is expected to be announced at Apple’s media event on October 23, and released November 2.

[via AppleInsider]