By Alexandra Burlacu | Apr 29, 2013 09:13 AM EDT
Apple could be planning to launch a lower-cost iPad Mini, in a bid to compete against cheap Android-powered tablets in the $199 - $249 price range.
Android tablets are increasingly popular due to the wide range of slates available, and also their affordable price tags, especially when compared to Apple's devices. Rumors of lower-cost iGadgets made several rounds recently, as many believe Apple could significantly change its fortunes for the better if it appeals to a wider audience by offering cheaper devices.
In a new research note, KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo states that the future of the iPad lies with its "Mini" version, and suggests the Cupertino giant could be considering a low-cost iPad Mini launch. The analyst has a good track record when it comes to predicting Apple's plans for future products.
Kuo's theory is that before launching an iPad Mini with Retina display, Apple might roll out a smaller-sized slate with a lower price point. For now, iPad Mini tablets currently cost $329 in Apple's Online Store. That price is lower than that of the full-size, 9.7-inch iPad, but higher than numerous Android tablets currently available on the market.
"Prior to [the] iPad mini 2 launch, Apple might roll out a more affordable iPad mini to compete with Android products," notes the analyst, as cited by MacRumors. "To cut costs, Apple might push for lower component prices, use a more advanced process to produce the A5 processor, simplify metal casing production, remove the rear camera, cut storage to 8GB and find more component suppliers to lower costs. We think this cheaper iPad mini [could] retail for US$199~249."
While Kuo believes such a device would not offer a considerable boost to Apple's overall iPad sales, it could help change things at the low end of the market, where cheaper Android-powered tablets run the show.
Before Apple introduced the smaller-size iPad, many potential customers were hoping the iPad Mini would come in this $199 - $249 price range. The Cupertino giant, however, took many by surprise and introduced the iPad Mini starting at $329. Although it's not as cheap as consumers had hoped for, Apple repeatedly noted that profit margins for the iPad Mini are below the company average.
Overall, Kuo believes that Apple will see a relatively small sales growth for the iPad this year, as the iPad Mini outshines the full-size iPad and an upgraded iPad Mini with Retina display will not arrive until later in the year.
© 2013 Mobile & Apps All rights reserved. Do not reproduce without permission.