October 17, 2012 - 8:58pm
BY STEVEN TWEEDIE
Apple is widely expected to unveil a smaller version of its wildly successful iPad on October 23, simply referred to as the “iPad Mini” by the press. Apple sent out invitations to an October 23rd event on October 16, confirming the long-rumored date.
The new device would be the company’s first deviation from the 9.7 inch iPad we are all used to seeing. The iPad Mini is believed to sport a 7.85 inch screen (screen measured diagonally). While the difference in screen size seems minimal, the new tablet will allow Apple to compete against the smaller Amazon Fire HD and Google’s Nexus 7, both of which carry a display and price tag noticeably smaller than the traditional iPad.
The current iPad starts at a price point of $499, and while it continues to shatter sales records, Apple’s competitors have been developing the market for lower priced tablets such as the Amazon Fire HD and the Google Nexus 7, both priced at only $199. Expect the iPad Mini to match or even beat this price point, as Apple tries to eviscerate the competition once again. Technical specifications can only be speculated on, but a screen resolution matching that of the original iPad and the iPad 2 would be a reasonable bet as the retina display found in the third generation iPad would drive the pricing skywards and away from the target $199 threshold.
Expect Apple to focus on further iBooks developments at the event as well, as the iPad Mini approaches the size of the e-ink using Amazon Kindles. While the iPad Mini sports an LCD screen as opposed one of the glare-reducing e-ink displays like the Amazon Kindle or Barnes & Noble Nook, many people would rather have a device that can act as both an eReader and a tablet for web browsing, as evidence by Amazon’s introduction of its LCD sporting Kindle Fire. Apple will try and hit that sweet spot by presenting a device that is easily held in one hand (the current iPad really isn’t, the iPad Mini will have to have a thinner bezel), but with enough screen real estate for comfortable web browsing and media consumption.
One thing's for certain, however; the sub-$200 tablet market is about to see some commotion.