By Alexandra Burlacu | Jul 16, 2012 10:07 PM EDT
Between Google's Nexus 7 tablet which started shipping Friday, July 13, Microsoft's recently announced Surface tablet, Amazon is reportedly working on a Kindle Fire 2, and Apple, according to rumors, is cooking up an iPad Mini. The tablet market, if these indications are anything to go by, will never be the same again.
There have been numerous rumors pointing to a smaller-size iPad, dubbed iPad Mini, to launch soon and crush competition, reasserting Apple's dominance. The New York Times joined the band wagon on Sunday, July 15, with an exciting report of its own. While news of an iPad Mini is hardly a surprise anymore, the Times did add an interesting bit of information: the smaller iPad "is likely to sell for significantly less than the latest $499 iPad."
The New York Times reported that the Cupertino, California-based tech giant is indeed working on a smaller tablet with a 7.85-inch display and a significantly lower price tag, "according to several people with knowledge of the project who declined to be named discussing confidential plans."
Apple is arguably dominant in the tablet market, holding 60 to 70 percent of the market, depending on the research firm doing the estimates. While the company's popular iPad is already the market-leading tablet, a smaller tablet would help attract more buyers and bolster Apple's position.
Former Apple manager Leslie Grandy, who is now a consultant and an adviser to start-up companies, told the New York Times that an iPad Mini could be particularly appealing to people who don't carry current iPad models with them because of their size and weight. A 7-inch tablet would still be too big for carrying around in your pocket, but it is a great size for women's purses, added Grandy. "I really do feel like this is the sweet spot for them," she said.
In the current market, the most credible challenge to the iPad is Google's Nexus 7, a 7-inch device built in collaboration with Asus. The Nexus 7 has already kicked off to an impressive start and has received enthusiastic reviews for its software and battery life, as well as its attractive $199 price tag.
In another effort to make the iPad more attractive, Apple continues to sell the second-generation iPad for $399, which is $100 less that the latest iteration, the new iPad with Retina display. However, $399 still costs significantly more than Google's offering, so a smaller iPad with a lower price tag would make sense. Aggressive pricing is the best way to crush rivals and own the tablet market, but it remains to be seen whether Apple will venture below the current $399 price tag of the iPad 2.
Apple did not comment on the rumors.
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