The reports of a brand new 7.85″ iPad Mini being in development at Apple have ranged from reliable to somewhat dubious, and the latest batch are implying that more may be on the way. It isn’t just the product’s potential price that is now being discussed, but the claim that Apple’s overseas manufacturing plants preparing to start production on the iPad Mini this September. An official announcement is expected soon after.
The exact price point that the slightly-more-portable version of the iPad will release at is quickly becoming a point of debate among the tech industry’s various analysts and ‘inside sources.’ With the first rumors painting the device as likely to launch with a $200 price tag – selling at an insignificant profit to drive the competition out – just days ago reports from investment consultants claimed that a $299 price was deemed even more likely.
The newest rumors come courtesy of the Wall Street Journal, claiming that sources close to production have Apple’s overseas manufacturers gearing up to put the device into production come September. This is in line with previous estimates placing the launch around October 2012, so at least all the speculation over the time iPad Mini will arrive seems to agree.
The price isn’t quite so clear-cut, as Bloomberg has now spoken to different analysts who, once again, argue that a $199 release price makes the most sense. The desire for Apple to more directly compete with Amazon’s Kindle Fire has been clear for months now, but Shaw Wu, an analyst at Sterne Agee & Leach believes that the 7.85″ inch would deal a crushing blow to both the Kindle and Google’s upcoming Nexus 7.
The first point will be coming close to the $199 price of both, which Wu believes will be possible with Apple not using the new Retina display for the iPad Mini, and since he believes that customers don’t need the device to be that much cheaper to beat out its rivals:
“It would be the competitors’ worst nightmare…The ball is in Apple’s court…This isn’t like the old days, when it cost thousands of dollars more to buy an Apple product…Fifty or a hundred bucks wouldn’t be enough to make someone switch.”
Wu’s belief that Apple wouldn’t even need to match the price of either product to be more appealing is a bold one, and would allow Apple to potentially earn more profits off each device than either of its competitors. Of course, these assertions operate on the theory that, as iPhone and iPad owners update their versions regularly, so too will a similar group of customers purchase an Apple tablet…on top of the one they likely already own.
We’re not claiming that these estimates aren’t unfounded – Apple hasn’t broken the track record yet – but assuming that a miniature version of the iPad with a less impressive screen will sell anywhere close to a newer, faster, and more visually impressive version could be dangerous.
We’ll obviously have to wait and see, since Apple isn’t looking to open up on the matter anytime soon. They may have to soon, if the iPad Mini really is on its way this Fall.
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