In less than 24 hours Apple are expected to announce the iPad mini. The rumours suggest it will have the following spec:
- 7.8 inch display (so Google Nexus 7 / Amazon Fire size)
- The A5 from the iPad 2, not the new A6.
- Light weight
- iOS 6
But what about the price? There is a heap of speculation ranging from $350 down to $200. So why does the market need a small iPad?
For me the concept of an iPad mini is an opportunity for Apple to keep its strong hold on the tablet market. So far the iPad has been untouchable and has a large lead against all other tablet devices. However Google and Amazon are offering consumer great devices but at a low cost compared to an iPad.
Only this week we have learned that 1 in 8 web visits in the US is a tablet - which means mostly iPad.
For Apple to keep ownership of the tablet space, they need the next wave of tablet adopters to buy Apple. The next wave of tablet adopters include (not exclusively) a proportion of consumers who will not pay the big bucks for an iPad. Android mobile has benefited from significant market share growth for having cost effective devices on offer.
While I would not expect Apple to release the mini cheaper than the competition, it does need to be close enough. The typical Kindle Fire consumer needs to be able to stretch slightly further to reach an iPad mini. If Apple price this new product too far out, sales will be low and restricted to fanboys and possibly those that feel a 7 inch tablet will fit better into their handbag or coat pocket.
The next 6 months will show if Windows 8 tablets and the latest affordable Android versions can get significant traction. Only time will tell.