Rumours of an iPad mini appear to be true, not that we ever doubted them, as Apple has sent out the invitations for what is widely speculated to be the launch of the iPad mini – a smaller version its iPad tablet.
The digital invitations read: ‘We got a little more to show you.”
Rumoured for months, and the butt of intense speculation, the iPad mini is Apple’s attempt to make sure they don’t lose too much marketshare from a host of new, cheaper tablets from the likes of Amazon and Google.
It’s rumoured the new model will feature a display that is 7.8-inches, and it’s thought it will keep the same resolution screen as the iPad 2 and not Retina display a la iPad 3.
Over the last 12 months Amazon’s Kindle Fiire and Asus’s Google-branded Nexus 7 has been real success stories and seemingly proven consumers want smaller tablets.
But despite their success, Apple has continued to dominate the tablet market and according to research by iHS iSuppli, Apple shipped an eye-watering 17 million tablets over the April-to-June quarter capturing close to 70% of the market.
The event is scheduled to take place at California Theatre in San Jose – but until it’s actually unveiled there’s no hard proof the device actually exists, especially as it was meant to be unveiled at that iPhone 5 launch a few months ago.
“Dead on arrival”
The late Steve Jobs famously revealed his distain towards a small iPad way back in 2010, he said: “There are clear limits of how close you can physically place elements on a touchscreen before users cannot reliably tap, flick or pinch them,” he told analysts in October 2010, according to a transcript of a conference call provided by news site Seeking Alpha.
“This is one of the key reasons we think the 10in screen size is the minimum size required to create great tablet apps… 7in tablets are tweeners, too big to compete with a smartphone and too small to compete with an iPad.”
He added that he believed the concept would prove “dead on arrival” when trialed by others.
But it seems Jobs was way off the mark, as the Google Nexus has shipped an impressive 1.5 million tablets in just 5 weeks, and Amazon’s Kindle Fire is about to make its European debut this month.
Apparently in 2011, Jobs has actually begun to warm to idea after an email exchange between Apple’s head of iTunes, Eddy Cue, revealed that Jobs was more receptive of the idea, when Cue said there is a market for a smaller iPad.
“I believe there will be a 7-inch market and we should do one,” Mr Cue wrote on 24 January 2011.
“I expressed this to Steve several times since Thanksgiving and he seemed very receptive the last time,” he added.
Apple’s success might be determined by the price it decides to sell its new devices at, at the moment that current thinking is the tablet will retail for £250 for a 8GB version – which we think is still a bit pricey for a budget tablet, we think £200 for an 8GB and £250 for a 16GB version would be a much better price point.
Amazon’s Kindle Fire is a probably Apple’s biggest threat, especially as the company sell their Fire tablet at a slight loss, which is then made up by the purchases from their users – something Apple is unlikely to ever consider.
The Google Nexus 7, Samsung Galaxy Tab2 7, Barnes & Noble Nook HD, Blackberry Playbook, Amazon Kindle Fire HD and Kobo Arc tablets can all be bought for less than £200 in the UK – making Apple’s price point a very important decision.
By contrast, Apple currently sells its cheapest tablet – the iPad 2 – for £329. And competition in the tablet market is only going to increase with the release of Microsoft’s Surface tablet which had its price officially unveiled yesterday and will got on sale on October 26, three days after Apple’s announcement.