There’s renewed speculation about Apple coming out with an iPad mini. That speculation has started swirling yet again after a report came out from Bloomberg that Apple is planning on releasing a cheaper and smaller version of the iPad.
As anyone that follows the rumor mill of Apple would know, this isn’t an idea that’s new. There’s been speculation on a smaller version of the iPad persistently for quite some time, especially true since Amazon released their tablet, the 7-inch Kindle Fire. With Google now producing the Nexus 7, their 7-inch tablet version, the smaller tablet market is getting a lot more competition.
People that have plan “knowledge” have given some additional information about the things that Apple might be planning in order to dive into another segment of the tablet market.
According to the information, the smaller iPad tablet would be cheaper than the current version that’s 9.7 inches, however, with the cheaper price it’s not going to have the same high res retina display that’s present on the new iPhone 4S, iPad and the latest incarnation of the MacBook Pro. Apple may make an announcement of this new iPad sometime in October. This is the same time that they’re expected to refresh their iPhone product line.
A spokeswoman for Apple declined to make any comments on the reports of a smaller iPad.
Once considered to be completely out of the question at Apple, smaller tablets were discouraged from thought due to Steve Jobs stating that any touchscreen device that small is more or less too small for effective use.
There are a couple of different ways that Apple could benefit by producing a smaller iPad tablet. The first is that they could use it as a more consumption based tablet which will plug the iCloud and their iTunes store. You could look at it as a larger version of the iPod touch that’s used mainly for gaming, music and movies but you can also use it to get a little bit of work done. If someone is plugging into a device that’s highly portable they’re likely to get more addicted to the iTunes and App stores.
The second is for many of the consumers in Asia (as pointed out by IDC’s Ian Song) the iPad is just too big full-sized.
Appeal to the smaller tablets goes to their level of portability. They’re able to easily be slipped into a small bag or a purse and it makes it much easier to watch or read something while on a train or a bus.
The broad tablet market success of Apple has made it significantly hard for any one competitor to come in and grab any significant portion, although the Nook (Barnes and Nobile) and the Kindle Fire (Amazon) have seen a modicum of success when it comes to the book lovers. A promising new tablet from Google could eat a share of the market but would face significant levels of competition should Apple decide to jump into the space with a smaller tablet that’s backed by their highly formidable application store.
This will ring especially true should the new iPad, as reported by Bloomberg, be priced to the competitive nature of the Nexus 7 and Kindle Fire, both retailing for $199.