Print 33 comment(s) - last by WinTard.. on Oct 9 at 4:14 PM

This shows that Apple has plenty of confidence in its new addition to the iPad family despite the fact that the market is already flooded with 7-inch tablets

The iPad Mini hasn't even been announced yet, but Apple is already planning to make over 10 million of them in the fourth quarter of this year. 
Ten million iPad Minis is almost double the number of Amazon Kindle Fires that were made during Q4 2011 -- and the Fire was the hottest holiday item last year. This shows that Apple has plenty of confidence in its new addition to the iPad family despite the fact that the market is already flooded with 7-inch tablets. 
Apple is still the big player in the tablet market with its 9.7-inch iPad, but the tech giant has noticed a new trend that is grabbing customers' attention -- smaller, cheaper tablets
Companies like Amazon, ASUS and Samsung have turned the tablet world upside down with the idea of smaller tablets that are more affordable, but also have strong features. Amazon led the pack with its 7-inch Kindle Fire tablet last year for $199. Samsung's Galaxy Tabs have 7-inch versions in the mix, and more recently, Google teamed up with ASUS for the 7-inch Nexus 7 tablet for $199. 

iPad Mini rendering [Image Source: Martin Hajek]
As if that wasn't enough, Amazon jumped back into the small tablet market with a refreshed 7-inch Kindle Fire HD for $199, an 8.9-inch Fire HD for $299 and a 4G LTE HD model for $499. On top of that, the e-tailer is offering a generous data package with its tablets for only $49.99 per year. 
It's clear that the smaller tablet market is quite competitive, and it's what customers want. In Q2 2010, Apple had 84 percent of the worldwide tablet market share. In Q2 2012, this number dropped to 69.6 percent, further showing that competitors like Android-powered tablets are cutting in. 
Of course, Apple wants a piece of that pie and is looking to hold onto its tablet dominance. Doing so means the release of an iPad Mini, which is rumored to be a 7.85-inch version of the usual 9.7-inch iPad. 
[Image Source: Martin Hajek]
Apple is expected to announce the iPad Mini later this month. Last week, Apple's Asian component suppliers started production of the iPad Mini, and the tech giant is looking to make about 10 million in Q4 2012 for the holiday season. However, the iPad Mini's success will be largely based on its affordability and features, which have yet to be disclosed. 

Sources: The Wall Street Journal, Martin Hajek

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Won't be as popular
By mchentz on 10/8/2012 3:05:13 PM , Rating: 2
Apple missed their opportunity in this market. I seem to remember they saying them will not be making a smaller screen iPad. Now others have a strong foothold. The iPad mini will be a watered down iPad with a lot less features I would bet.

Personally my wife and I have enjoyed our Kindle Fire and will be getting another one the Large screen one (she wants it in the kitchen for her recipe's)in the Christmas time frame :)

RE: Won't be as popular
By TakinYourPoints on 10/8/2012 3:49:52 PM , Rating: 2
I'm not so sure. They have the brand momentum, they have the best developers, and they have the best mobile hardware. Even at a $50 premium over a Fire, an A5 or A6 equipped iPad mini would run circles around it and be an obvious practical choice when comparing them side by side.

The Fire was never good hardware to begin with, but it is cheap and unlike every other Android tablet OEM (pre-Nexus 7) it had a great company supporting it. Apple jumping into the $250-$300 range changes things quite a lot.

RE: Won't be as popular
By dark matter on 10/8/2012 3:58:39 PM , Rating: 1
Best mobile hardware?

Yeah, ok.

RE: Won't be as popular
By TakinYourPoints on 10/8/2012 4:32:46 PM , Rating: 2
Why wouldn't it be? It has the fastest SoCs and practical performance by a very wide margin. On top of that it actually has applications that use that fast hardware.

That is objectively the best mobile hardware, no? It certainly isn't coming from NVIDIA or TI right now. Anandtech's inevitable benchmark comparison between the Fire HD and the iPad Mini shouldn't show anything surprising.

RE: Won't be as popular
By Solandri on 10/8/2012 5:28:55 PM , Rating: 2
The brand momentum works partly against them in this case, since they spent years deriding the 7" tablet market as a too-small ugly duckling. They emphasized that you really need a full 10" screen for a real tablet experience.

Still, experience says the Apple faithful will eat up whatever the company tells them, no matter how much it contradicts what they were told in the past. So their fans could very well buy it up in droves.

RE: Won't be as popular
By KoolAidMan1 on 10/8/2012 7:18:31 PM , Rating: 2
It wouldn't be the first time Apple seriously changed their mind after making a strong stance going the other way. iOS was initially only supposed to run web apps, you'd never be able to buy music through an iPod, etc etc.

Market reasons aside, a 7" tablet probably makes more sense for them now than it did in 2010 since DPI has increased so much. You'll get iPad 1/2 level PPI in something smaller. No break in app compatability due to resolution since a 7" version will just use the pre-2012 res, etc etc. A pre-retina pre-2012 7" iPad would have introduced problems for developers there.

RE: Won't be as popular
By zephyrprime on 10/8/2012 4:47:08 PM , Rating: 2
By Dec 31st, I predict Apple will have sold more ipad mini's than all other 7" tablets in existence as of that future date. I completely disagree with you on the idea that the market is entrenched by other players. The market is nascent.

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