By Anu Passary | Jul 16, 2012 12:16 PM EDT
With a bevy of devices up its sleeve, Apple is ensuring that it stays miles ahead from even the faintest flicker of competition. The anticipated offering from the Apple stable - the iPad Mini, slated for a fall release, is gearing up to thwart rivals and cutting short Google's Nexus 7's success story.
According to a report by The New York Times, which cited anonymous sources, the new Apple tablet will sport a 7.85-inch screen and will be priced cheaper than the $499 price tag for the current iPad. The device is likely to be released before year end.
Apple currently dominates the tablet market with a whopping 60 to 70 percent of the share, resigning other players' devices to the Apple-like product adjective. The iPad Mini is Apple's way of upping the stakes and silencing challengers like Google, Microsoft, and Amazon who in the recent past have made steady inroads into the tablet market. Google's Nexus 7 is already getting rave reviews for battery life and performance. With its compact size and a $199 price tag, the Nexus 7 beats the iPad on both counts, posing as a likely threat for the tablet market leader.
Apple currently offers the second generation iPad (16GB) for $399 and has suffered a minor setback with Google offering the Nexus 7 for a modest $199. The gamut of new "budget tablet" offerings by other market players like Amazon (Kindle Fire is priced at $199) and more expected to hit soon (Amazon is working on the Kindle Fire 2 and Microsoft is also working on the Surface) is keeping Apple on its toes. Moreover, these 7-inch tablets are way more compact and less cumbersome when compared to the current 9.7-inch iPad.
In 2010, Apple's iconic CEO Steve Jobs had dismissed the onslaught of the 7-inch tablets post the first iPad's launch. Jobs had denounced the then new 7-inch tablets, saying that they should be sold with sandpaper so that users could whittle their fingertips down to fine points. "There are clear limits of how close you can physically place elements on a touch screen before users cannot reliably tap, flick or pinch them," Jobs said. "This is one of the key reasons we think the 10-inch screen size is the minimum size required to create great tablet apps."
To counteract impending threats, the powers-that-be at Apple have perhaps decided to go with the iPad Mini. The company already offers a variety of options when it comes to its music players. The iPod is available in varying sizes right from the tiny shuffle to the iPod Touch. Industry experts believe that Apple's plan for a tablet with a smaller screen is part of a textbook business strategy to lure customers who want different sizes of tablets into the iPad product family.
Leslie Grandy, a former Apple manager, is of the opinion that a smaller iPad may appeal to a segment of people who presently avoid carrying their iPads as it is large and bulky. The 7.85-inch iPad Mini may be a tad too big to fit into trouser pockets; however, it would be snug in women's handbags. "I really do feel like this is the sweet spot for them," Grandy said.
With the expected fall launch of the iPad Mini round the corner, Apple can look forward to conquering the smaller tablet domain. Given the company's Midas touch and several success stories, competitors have much to worry about and can revel in their moment of glory till the iPad Mini arrives.
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