iPad Mini Is Coming: 10 Ways It Could Change the Tablet Market

NEWS ANALYSIS: Despite Apple's stony silence on the matter, persistent rumors and market reports that a new Apple tablet dubbed the iPad Mini will hit store shelves later this year. If that actually happens, expect it to dramatically change the face of the tablet market.

Apple's iPad Mini has been the source of many rumors over the last several weeks. However, in the last couple of days, the device has received far more attention with claims that it'll ship later this year with a design that effectively turns it into a big iPod Touch. According to other reports, the iPad Mini will ship with a 7.85-inch screen and come in at a much lower price than Apple's larger slate.

For its part, Apple hasn't said that it will, in fact, launch an iPad Mini later this year. That said, all signs point to the company doing so. From a strategic perspective, launching the iPad Mini could help Apple stave off any attempts by its competitors to grab too much market share at the lower end of the tablet market.

Given Apple's success with other mobile products, adding another device to the mix should only increase its revenue and profits. Simply put, launching an iPad Mini sounds like a great idea for Apple.

For the tablet market, however, the device could have a partially positive, partially negative impact. In fact, the iPad Mini will change the tablet market in a big way.

These are the reasons an iPad Mini will change the tablet market.

1. It increases Apple's leverage

If nothing else, an iPad Mini would only increase Apple's leverage in the marketplace. The company would have more tablets to offer; its sales would be higher; and vendor partners would be required even more to play nice. It could help Apple increase its power in key relationships across the industry.

2. It hurts the Nexus 7's value proposition

If the iPad Mini does finally hit store shelves, Google's Nexus 7 could be in for trouble. After all, the Nexus 7 is the top 7-inch tablet on the market right now. If Apple's tablet comes in with a slightly larger screen and some special features Google's offering can't match, the Nexus 7 could find its sales slip quite quickly.

3. It'll drive pricing down

Whenever Apple enters a market, it tends to force competitors to drop their prices. The company does so by offering what are perceived to be higher-end products at prices that can match competitors' products. As a result competitors must drop their own prices to keep up. That may be great for tablet buyers, but it's not necessarily a good thing for all interests.

4. Developers will continue to flock to Apple

If Apple can launch a new iPad that increases its market share in the mobile space, it won't be long before developers dedicate less of their time to producing applications for other operating systems, such as Windows 8 commit more of their time and resources to produces iOS applications. Software developers follow the consumers. With an iPad Mini launching, the consumers will flock to Apple's products.

Don Reisinger

Don Reisinger

Don Reisinger is a longtime freelance contributor to several technology and business publications. Over his career, Don has written about everything from geek-friendly gadgetry to issues of privacy...