At least one analyst is positive that Apple has a new smaller iPad up its sleeves. Sterne Agee’s Shaw Wu said in a note to investors Tuesday that we can be sure Apple will release an iPad Mini at some point. It’s a “question of when, not if” Apple will ever launch the tablet, Wu said, noting that a smaller tablet would be the “competition’s worst nightmare.” Just who will Apple compete with?
If the company launches a 7.85-inch iPad Mini, and rumors have suggested it will, the tablet will go head-to-head with Amazon’s Kindle Fire, the Barnes & Noble Nook, Samsung’s new Galaxy Tab 2 7.0 and even Google’s rumored 7-inch tablet that is expected to hit store shelves this year.
A rumor surfaced on Monday suggesting that Apple’s iPad Mini could launch during the third quarter with a price tag between $249 and $299. That’s a bit higher than the price of the Amazon’s $199 Kindle Fire, but consumers will no doubt flock to an iPad Mini simply for access to Apple’s sprawling iTunes App Store. The lower price also opens up the iPad to a customer base that may have not found it necessary to spend more than $250 for a new tablet and were put off by the higher price of the iPad.
Wu isn’t so sure Apple will release the iPad Mini in the near future, however. “We do not sense that the release of an iPad mini is imminent and quite frankly, exact timing is difficult to predict,” Wu said in his note. “However, we do believe it makes both fundamental and strategic sense for AAPL to address at some point.”