updated 11:25 am EDT, Wed October 12, 2011
Added iPad might be cheaper, not smaller
Research points to a new, cheaper iPad coming in "the first few months" of 2012, according to Ticonderoga Securities analyst Brian White. The claim is based on White's meetings with Apple suppliers while on a visit to China. The device, nicknamed the "iPad mini," would allegedly expand the reach of the iPad by making it accessible to people who can't justify the normal $499 barrier to entry.
The "mini" term is used to refer to price, not necessarily size, White cautions. "We believe this lower priced iPad could be priced in the mid-to-high-$200 range," he says. "We expect this will be followed by a much more powerful, feature rich standard-priced iPad 3 in 2Q12."
Casting doubt on the claim is Apple's tendency to avoid releasing two models of the same product separately. White suggests however that Apple may want to counter Amazon's Kindle Fire, which while just an 8GB, 7-inch tablet is also only $199. Apple could conceivably follow the strategy it has adopted with iPhones by introducing a low-storage iPad 2 alongside an iPad 3.