By Frank Ling
Apple has sent out invitations to the press about an upcoming event for October 23, and most industry observers are guessing that Apple will be announcing its newest member to its iPad family, the iPad mini.
What is it?
At the moment, the kings of 7-inch tablets are Amazon’s Kindle Fire HD and Google’s Nexus 7. All this attention and huge sales numbers for these devices has finally gotten the attention of Apple and it seems that the company will finally enter the market with a small tablet of its own—the iPad mini.
As it is with most pre-released Apple devices, specific details on the small iPad are hard to come by, but what has been speculated is that the new iPad mini will sport a 7.85-inch display and feature virtually everything that its larger big brother has—just on a smaller scale.
A recent leaked price list from MediaMarkt.com, a large European online electronics retailer, shows 8 different models of the iPad mini. When currency conversion is factored in, the entry level version may be priced at $249, while the high-end LTE 64GB version will clock in at $650.
The full price breakdown, according to educated guesses is as follows:
• 8GB WiFi Black/White, $250
• 8GB Cellular Black/White $350
• 16GB WiFi Black/White $350
• 16GB Cellular WiFi Black/White $450
• 32GB WiFi Black/White $450
• 32GB Cellular Black/White$550
• 64GB WiFi Black/White $550
• 64GB Cellular Black/White $650
(Update: The entry level iPad mini has been priced at $329)
Who will want it?
The odd thing about the iPad mini is that Apple fans who already own a full-sized iPad don’t seem to be very interested in the new offering from Apple. This is to be expected as those who are already loyal to their iPads will see little use in buying a smaller version of what they already own.
As far as the small tablet customer, this demographic is already used to seeing entry level prices for 7-inch tablets starting at $199. If the leaked price list is correct, and the starting price for an iPad mini is $249, this will mean prospective customers will have to pay a $50 premium for the iPad mini.
The big question is will people, who are not Apple fans, make the jump to pay the extra $50 to own a genuine Apple product?
Current trends for affordable tablets indicate that Apple may have an uphill battle because comparable tablets by Google and Amazon are significantly cheaper than Apple’s upcoming iPad mini.
We’ll all have to wait and see, starting on October 23, whether the new iPad mini will be a hit or not.
Frank Ling is the National Technology Examiner for Examiner.com. He is a writer, professional photographer, and video editor. One of his all-time favorite jobs was working at a large video game publisher as a QA trainer for testing game software.