Samsung, Apple, and the iPad Mini

by Matt Klassen on March 16, 2012

Amidst the recent speculation about what new features we’d see on the new iPad (released today) there was one rumour that seemed to have more endurance than most, the development of a smaller version of Apple’s tablet. While we didn’t see any sort of mini iPad unveiled last week, the funny thing about this particular rumour is that it hasn’t gone away; in fact it’s become significantly stronger.

To that end, in an interview with The Korea Times last week an unnamed Samsung executive let slip that Apple is developing a smaller iPad, sporting a 7.85-inch screen that will likely be released sometime before Christmas.

But what does Samsung know about Apple’s development plans, you may ask, when both companies are engaged in bitter legal battles across the globe? What you may not know is that while Samsung and Apple are chief rivals in the smartphone sector, they’re also close partners, with Apple dependant on Samsung for much of its technology, the new iPad included, meaning that if there was a company who might know about the production of a mini-iPad, it would be Samsung.

As I said, while on the face of it Samsung and Apple seem the bitterest of enemies, their relationship is in fact quite a bit more complex, with the latter reportedly completely dependant on Samsungfor the new high resolution screens that wowed the world when the new iPad was unveiled last week. Further, there is widespread speculation that Samsung is also the supplier of Apple’s new A5X processors found in the new iPad as well, not to mention the Samsung solid state drives Apple will reportedly be using in its new line of MacBook Air laptops.

It was this line of questioning regarding the size of Samsung’s business with Apple that sparked the illuminating conversation between The Korea Times reporter and the unnamed loose-lipped Samsung “official.” The official stated that the current contract with the Cupertino tech giant is valued at $9.7 billion USD, adding that it could rise to as much as $11 billion “by the end of this year as Apple is planning to release a smaller iPad, probably with a 7.85-inch screen.” Sure it’s a simple sentence on the face of it, but it’s certainly more than enough to reignite the rumours of a mini iPad.

Although rumours about a smaller iPad have been around since the release of the iPad 2 last year, there might be reason to think that this current round of speculation might have some truth behind it. While Apple clearly dominates the high end tablet market, the tech giant has no presence in the newly created affordable tablet genre, currently dominated by Amazon’s Kindle Fire.

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.

In the end, despite the pros and cons regarding a smaller version of the iPad, the fact is that the rumour simply won’t go away, and more often than not, such endurance is fed by kernels of truth.

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Written by: Matt Klassen. Follow by: RSS, Twitter, Facebook, or YouTube.

{ 3 trackbacks }

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