According to a Chinese blog NetEase, Apple’s universally famous tablets, in their ‘mini’ form, will be up for sale as early as October this year. This revelation set fire to the rumors about Apple’s possible third-quarter launch of the iPad Mini featuring a 7.7-inch display with a price tag in the range of $249 to $299. According to various sources in Taiwanese media, Apple has already made agreements regarding supply chain with Chinese manufacturers, the Hon Hai Group. They have already been selected for the delivery of as many as 6 million units in this year’s third quarter.
Various tech analysts are of the view that it was a sensible thing do to on Apple’s part i.e releasing cheaper albeit tinier versions of its tablets because Apple was facing renewed competition from its existing rivals reentering the tablet market with their new devices. For instance, most tablet manufacturers are expected to begin mass production of new tablet models running Microsoft’s dual-mode Windows 8 operating system for both PC and tablet. This might be a significant factor in forcing consumers to spend on tablet PCs this holiday season and Apple wouldn’t want to miss out on that.
Moreover, Samsung recently launched a new lineup of cut-price Galaxy Tab 2 and Galaxy Player devices that offer a more instantaneous threat to Apple’s domination of the tablet market. Samsung’s new 7.7-inch Galaxy Tab 2 model will be up for sale at $249.99 when it launches in the United States next week.
The leading investment bank Piper Jaffray agrees with industry wide expectations that Apple will ultimately have to launch a cheaper iPad with a smaller screen, but the asset management firm’s leading analyst continue to believe that the iPad Mini will not hit the tablet market until 2013. Piper Jaffray’s analyst Douglas Clinton said in an e-mail:
“Our thoughts on the timing of the smaller iPad remain unchanged despite Samsung’s [latest] Galaxy releases,”
This apparently is not a good idea keeping Apple’s interest in mind as by that time Samsung and other Android based tablet manufacturers would have created a niche market for themselves catering to smaller and inexpensive tablets and it will be very difficult for Apple to penetrate this market.
It, however, remains to be seen how consumer react to the launch of smaller tablets and that depends if they can find more utility in these tablets compared to the high-end smart phones. But as it is Apple we are talking about, rest assured we can expect a quality product from them regardless of its dimensions.