Remember the chatter prior to last week, that Apple would announce an inexpensive iPhone? Well the rumor has returned — evolved into the “iPad mini.” According to one analyst, Apple is prepping the device for 2012 to combat Amazon’s $199 Kindle Fire.
The iPad mini, writes Ticonderoga Securities analyst Brian White, will be an iPad “priced in the mid-to-high $200 range.” White just returned from talking with suppliers in China and Taiwan. Like the previous inexpensive iPhone rumor, the iPad mini will precede “a much more powerful, feature rich standard-priced iPad 3″ in the second quarter of 2012,” the analyst claims.
The supposed iPad mini will target what White terms a “more price sensitive consumer segment,” i.e. those buyers considering purchasing Amazon’s $199 Kindle Fire. Although the iPad mini is not supposed to be smaller than the standard iPad (the Fire has a 7-inch screen rather than Apple’s 9.7-inch tablet display), it is unknown how the inexpensive iPad will keep costs down.
A low-cost iPad could catch fire in third-world nations, such as China, providing Apple another region to market its products, White said.
Perhaps Apple will follow Amazon’s lead and move features such as storage onto iCloud. The Cupertino, Calif. company already is known for keeping tight control on supplier costs. The cloud alternative could make the most sense as the tech giant prepares to roll out its new iOS 5 with many iCloud-based features.
It is unlikely Apple’s reported iPad mini will sport a smaller display. In 2010, late co-founder Steve Jobs derided rivals who launched tablets with 7-inch screens. The small touchpanels would require consumers to sand down their fingertips to accommodate the smaller targets, he said in his trademarked dismissive style.