Apple Planning to Launch a New iPad Mini
Although Apple’s new iPad has only been on store shelves for weeks, the company is planning to launch a new slate, called the iPad Mini. Rumormongers have been spreading tales of a miniature, 7-inch Apple tablet since before Apple even released its first iPad in 2010. It’s reported that the pint-size Apple tablet will land in the third quarter of this year to “counter attack” upcoming Windows 8 tablets and 6 million units will be ready for launch, and the smaller tablet could sell for $249 to $299.
The device will come with a smaller screen size and a far more affordable price tag, and compete against Amazon’s Kindle Fire and the Barnes & Noble Nook Tablet. If and when the device launches, it could be a sales juggernaut. Foxconn and Pegatron are reportedly making the mini iPad. As Kotaku pointed out, "Pegatron was at one point a subsidiary of Asustek, who are currently working with Google on the next line of Android tablets.” While Steve Jobs himself has dismissed the notion of a smaller iPad, rumors have continued to pop up that Apple is readying a smaller version of its iPad. The success of Amazon's Kindle Fire, which has sold well largely thanks to its lower price tag, may have convinced Apple that there is an opportunity for a smaller, more affordable tablet. Analysts have said such a device would help it maintain its lead over competitors.
Apple has a 7.85-inch iPad in its labs, various claims of Apple moving closer to production of the smaller iPad have also been surfacing as rumors continue to swirl. Apple may be preparing the smaller iPad as a response to the expected launch of competitive devices running on Windows 8, according to the report. While Android tablets haven't sold as well, Microsoft could have more luck given the potential to integrate desktop, laptop, and tablet operating systems. Rumors about a smaller iPad have been circulating since before the March launch of the new iPad, which retained its 9.7-inch size. Back in December, there were reports that Apple had purchased 7.85-inch panels from LG Display and AU Optronics. Then in February the Wall Street Journal claimed to have a source who confirmed that Apple was testing the new, smaller screen line of tablets.
Apple is expected to launch the iPad Mini at some point toward the end of 2012. When that happens, the last thing Apple should do is bring iOS 5 to the device. Apple will likely launch iOS 6 over the summer, making it a near-necessity for the company to bundle its latest software in the device. A recent report from Gartner said that Apple will maintain its tablet dominance for years. About 61.4 percent of tablet purchases this year will likely be for the Apple iPad, while Android tablets will probably make up 31.9 percent of tablet sales in 2012.
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