Apple Could Reveal 7-Inch iPad Mini This October

Steve McCaskill is editor of TechWeekEurope and ChannelBiz. He joined
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Report suggests a smaller, cheaper iPad could be released before the end of the year

Rumours are intensifying that Apple is preparing a smaller, cheaper version of its iPad tablet, which could be released before the end of the year and announced this October.

The tablet is set to compete with the recently announced Google Nexus 7 and the successful Amazon Kindle Fire, as well as strengthening the iPad range against the threat of the Microsoft Surface.

The move would mirror the approach that the company has taken with the iPod, which is available in a number of sizes and capacities, but contradict the belief of co-founder Steve Jobs that a larger screen is necessary to ensure a good user experience.

iPad Mini Me

According to “two people with knowledge of the plans”, the screen will be seven to eight inches diagonally and won’t have the retina display introduced in the latest version of the 9.7-inch iPad, which was released in March. Instead, it will have the same number of pixels as older models of the iPad.

It is speculated that a cheaper screen could help Apple as it would be able to keep margins high without jeopardising sales. By contrast, Amazon loses money on every Kindle Fire unit that it sells.

A smaller iPad would allow Apple to compete at the lower end of the tablet spectrum, currently catered for by the Kindle fire and targeted by the Nexus 7, and would cement its overall stranglehold on the overall market. The iPad has dominated tablet sales since it was first released in 2010 and currently commands a 61 percent share of the market.

Google announced the arrival of its long-awaited seven inch tablet last week and prices will start at just £159 in the UK. It marks an effort by the search giant to lead the Android assault on the tablet market, with devices running the mobile operating system struggling against the iPad.

Microsoft has also signalled its intentions with the Microsoft Surface, which uses the upcoming Windows 8 operating system.

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