While all of the buzz around Apple has to do with this week’s expected unveiling of the next generation iPhone 5, rumours are once again quietly swirling that the company will come back shortly with an iPad Mini announcement as well.
Although such speculation has existed since the release of the iPad 2, it was six months ago when the rumours of a smaller iPad once again made their rounds, with a Samsung executive letting slip that Apple was indeed building a smaller version of its tablet, stating it would be ready in time for Christmas, and although multiple device announcements within a short period of time are generally not Apple’s modus operandi, the company finds itself in a unique situation, adding one more device to its generally small family of mobile gadgets and likely wanting to get the new iPad Mini to market before the lucrative holiday buying season begins.
Of course while there’s no question that today truly belongs to the iPhone 5, tomorrow may, in fact, finally belong to the long-awaited iPad Mini.
While the vast majority of analysts say that any sort of iPad Mini announcement today, coinciding with the release of the iPhone 5, is highly unlikely, the general consensus is that it won’t be long (most likely a month) before the same select group of reporters and gadget aficionados receive yet another invitation to a glitzy Apple release event.
That said, there are many reasons to think that this latest round of speculation is as unsubstantiated as the rest, given that Apple would be undercutting its own market dominance by offering another version of its wildly successful iPad. For many customers, being able to purchase a $250 iPad instead of a $500 version would be a no-brainer, and lost revenue for Apple.
But unlike six months ago when these rumours once again ignited, things have changed in the tablet market and a popular and profitable 7-inch tablet space has emerged, offering consumers more affordable tablet options. So while I would guess Apple doesn’t like competing with itself in the tablet space, if a person is looking for affordable options its still better for the company to have that $250 going into its pockets, rather than the pockets of a competitor like Amazon or Google.
Simply put, Apple has never been a company to watch profits flitter away to its competitors, meaning that Apple will likely absorb the dip in sales for its 10-inch line if it’s able to capture more of the available profits from the entire tablet sector.
To add more fuel to the iPad Mini fire, photos of an alleged iPad Mini mock-up emerged earlier this week, showing a smaller 7-inch iPad next to its larger brother, along with comparison photos of an iPhone 4S and what is presumably a longer-bodied iPhone 5. Again, this is really nothing new, we’ve seen leaked photos such as this before, but the unique thing about the iPad Mini rumours is that they continue to persist, and have done so since the iPad 2 was released almost two years ago.
In the end, while today clearly belongs to the iPhone 5, my guess is that it won’t be long before the day belongs to the new iPad Mini, an event that will likely spark the tablet war we’ve all been waiting to see.