All of the latest rumors surrounding Apple's iPad suggest that the company is currently working on a secretive new version of the device that would come with a 7-inch screen. Apple is hoping to get the device onto store shelves by late summer or early fall, according to reports, and will focus the tablet directly at Amazon's Kindle Fire.
Even the idea that Apple might be thinking about the Kindle Fire underscores the impact that device has made in the tablet space. When it came on the scene late last year with its $199 price tag and 7-inch display, many thought it was going to fall short in the shadow of Apple's high-end iPad. But before long, the Kindle Fire saw sales soar during the 2011 holiday season and although sales slowed in the 2012 first quarter, it's still one of the more popular iPad alternatives on the market.
Considering how important the tablet space is to Apple, however, one cannot expect the company to accept any substantial challenge from the Kindle Fire. Quite the contrary, there's a good chance that Apple wants to take it down. And with a 7-inch iPad, there's an even better chance that it'll achieve that goal.
1. It's Apple, isn't it?
First things first: If it's an Apple product, there's a very good chance it'll be successful. And if the device is successful, it'll start cannibalizing sales of other devices, including the Kindle Fire. Unless Amazon can find a way to respond to the smaller iPad with something even better, Apple's new slate will succeed simply because it comes from Apple.
2. Pricing matters
According to the latest reports, Apple will price its small iPad at a price that's far closer to the $199 Amazon is selling its Kindle Fire for. The smaller iPad could come in at about $250 or $300, which, while more expensive than Amazon's option, puts it close enough for most consumers to choose Apple's slate rather than Amazon's.
3. Most consumers want iOS
Unfortunately for Amazon, its tablet is running a heavily modified version of Android. And although Android is wildly popular in the smartphone market, in the tablet space, it has been largely an also ran. Apple's new slate, meanwhile, will be running iOS, which has proved very effective on the iPad.
4. The Kindle Fire is about services
Amazon's decision to launch the Kindle Fire last year seems to have had more to do with its own services than about beating Apple's iPad. The device is built around the idea that users can access its Kindle marketplace, Amazon Cloud, Amazon Prime and countless other services. For Apple, however,it's all about dominating hardware first. That different focus might hurt the Kindle Fire when it goes up against the smaller iPad.