The so-called iPad Mini’s expected debut later this month is adding more fuel to the rumor fire. A report in The Wall Street Journal, which quoted unnamed Asian component suppliers as saying they have received orders from Apple to build more than 10 million of the smaller tablets in the fourth quarter. Another report from WSJ notes that Asian suppliers for Apple Inc. have already started producing a new tablet computer smaller than the current iPad and the smaller tablet will have a 7.85-inch liquid-crystal display with a lower resolution than the latest iPad.
Although Apple hasn’t officially confirmed plans to launch a smaller tablet, the buzz is already building.
According to market research firm iSuppli, Apple’s share of the worldwide tablet market was 69.6% in the second quarter, down from nearly 84% in 2010. The second-largest player was Samsung with 9.2% of the market in the second quarter.
In view of the strong consumer demand for Samsung’s 5.3-inch Galaxy Note and Amazon’s 7-inch Kindle Fire, which shows that there is demand for a smaller tablet, Apple may well want a bite of the, well, apple. Apple’s “we just want to make great products” ethos will be as evident in the iPad Mini.
Owing to the lack of an official sign from Apple that the iPad Mini is in the works, a release date for the tablet is even more up in the air.
A report from Japanese blog Macotakara said that the iPad Mini price will cost in the region of $250-$350. “iPad Mini will be a big hit if Apple prices it below $300,” said RBS analyst Wanli Wang.
On the other hand, according to Bloomberg’s sources, the iPad Mini will not arrive packing the Retina Display featured on the new iPad 3.
We’d love to see a new iPad Mini come to market and it would be intriguing to see what Apple would do with the smaller format.