Rumors of an “iPad Mini” are flitting in. This comes as a surprise considering how intensely Steve Jobs rejected the idea of a smaller form factor at a conference in October last year. His argument was user experience. Are market conditions forcing Apple to change strategies now? Maybe not. According to some experts, the “Mini” sobriquet could really mean a smaller price rather than build.
The news of a cheaper iPad comes from AppleInsider. They got the dope from Ticonderoga Securities analyst Brian White who caught whispers of an “iPad Mini” while interacting with component suppliers in Taiwan.
So where did the idea of a mini version come from? I guess talks of Kindle Fire as a potential iPad contender had something to do with it. For the price of $199, Kindle Fire offers the advantages of portability and an extensive range of content from Amazon’s own stores. In fact, Amazon is selling the tablet at almost zero profit (if not on the negative side), relying heavily on after sale revenue that will come from the purchase of digital content – eBooks, videos, music, movies, etc., an Amazon App Store, and a huge collection of Amazon products.
Add to it the allure of Amazon offers that no one packages better than the e-tailer. For example, Amazon Prime members can access streaming video for a one-time annual fee. Amazon is also tying up with multiple magazine publishers and product vendors to deliver exclusive content on Kindle Fire, like the exclusive 4 month deal with DC Comics wherein some titles will only be available on Amazon’s Android tab.
Industry analysts speculate that “iPad Mini” will include more cloud-based services and lower priced hardware to arrive in market at the $200 and near about range. Apple will target the low to mid range consumer segment with the lower priced model. Rumors suggest a launch towards the early part of 2012, a little before the launch of iPad 3. It’s not hard to believe that Apple is recognizing the price sensitive market or the growth of a low budget consumer segment for tablets.
Amazon may not beat Apple in the Kindle Fire versus iPad 2 sales round but it will definitely make a dent in Apple’s tablet market share. Kindle Fire has already sold 300,000 units in preorder sales. There’s still some time to its release on November 15 but Kindle Fire is already a “success.”
However, in the fast moving techno world, no manufacturer, however successful, can afford to rest on its laurels. For the Kindle Fire, there’ll be an iPad Mini. For the iPad 2, there’ll be a 10inch Android contender from Amazon next year. The battle never ends here.
[via PC Mag]