After last year’s launch of the 1st gen iPad tablet a few rumors have started to run around about a mini iPad, but were quickly dismissed by Steve Jobs, who said Apple didn’t believe in a smaller form factor tablet. 10 inches is perfect and you don’t want to mess with perfection, right?
Apparently they’re going to stick with that, but will offer a mini-iPad version meant to counteract the cheap $199 Amazon Kindle Fire tablet. In this case the ‘mini’ refers to pricing, not the size of the tablet, which is going to maintain the same 9.7 inch screen, but will include some sort of cost saving measures to bring it to a more desirable $200-299 pricing range.
The most important cost saving measure will be cutting down internal storage from 16 GB to 8 GB. I expect keeping the same CPU as this year’s iPad 2, sticking with the current low-res display and maybe using a plastic body could make it easy for Apple to match the pricing of the Kindle Fire without sacrificing quality and user experience.
In the light of this situation the iPad 3 is expected to launch ‘as usual’ with new features and the same $499 starting price. It will be curious to see how Apple adapts its strategy to the bunch of cheap Android tablets announced by its competitors.