While Apple has still not officially announced anything about a smaller version of its iPad tablet, unofficially dubbed the iPad Mini, attention remains focused on the widely anticipated tablet—thanks to a stream of leaked images showing what could be components of the device, as well as technical details and other rumors from various unnamed sources. A screenshot allegedly showing pricing for the iPad Mini is the latest bit of unconfirmed information to leak out.
The tech blog MobileGeeks posted a photo of a consumer electronics retail inventory page that the site’s source said is used by the European big-box retail chains Saturn and Media Markt, which shows various versions of the smaller tablet in black and white casing options and 8, 16, 32 and 64GB models with WiFi connectivity and cellular radios, with prices starting at 249 euros (approximately $322.60) for an 8GB iPad Mini with WiFi only.
Analysts have suggested Apple would have to keep the price point within the $250 to $300 range in order to stay competitive with the other 7-inch tablets available—namely Amazon’s Kindle Fire, which starts at $159, and the Google Nexus 7 tablet, which starts at $199. A survey earlier this year from Pricegrabber found 52 percent of respondents would consider purchasing an iPad Mini for approximately $250 to $300, however 3G wireless network connectivity was among the most-anticipated features. Earlier reports suggested the iPad Mini could be a WiFi-only device.
The device is expected to sport a 7.85 inch display, which would have a lower resolution than the 9.7-inch high-definition Retina display on the full-size iPad, as well as a Lightening connector port, which recently debuted on the iPhone 5, on the bottom of the tablet. Although Apple has so far not hinted when it would release the iPad Mini, rumors abound that the company will soon hold a launch event to get the tablet into stores for the lucrative holiday shopping season.
Apple currently dominates the worldwide tablet market with a 68 percent market share, according to recent figures by IT research firm IDC, although low-cost competitors running Google’s Android operating system and Amazon’s Kindle Fire tablets have slowly been eroding Apple’s market share. Apple shipped 17 million iPads during the second quarter of 2012, up from 11.8 million units in the prior quarter. However, the technology analytics firm also noted the launch of tablets from Apple competitors and the release of Microsoft’s Windows 8 operating system would result in a competitive, robust market for tablets in the second half of the year.
In addition, a recent report from market research firm NPD Group projected ultra-slim PC shipments, driven by tablets, would grow from 3.4 million units in 2011 to 65 million by 2015 to represent a quarter of the mobile PC market. While demand for notebooks is slowing, tablet computers are picking up the slack as consumers turn to devices that allow them to easily access content on the go, and the report noted tablets are leading this technology revolution and are expected to surpass sales of notebook shipments by 2016.