By Sean King, EnStarz | Jul 05, 2012 07:49 PM EDT
New reports have claimed that Apple is preparing to release its iPad Mini as early as October 2012. The smaller sized version of its bestselling iPad tablet has been touted for months, but it now seems that its release could be landing before the end of the year.
It is believed that the new iPad Mini could have a screen size of about 7 to 8 inches and will likely not feature its popular HD Retina display released on its latest larger iPad. Instead various reports have claimed it will have a similar display to the second generation iPad that has a resolution of 1024 x 768. That should help developers who already have to develop their apps on different resolution screens for the iPad and iPhone.
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Other companies such as Amazon and Barnes and Noble have found a significant gap in the market for customers put off by the expensive regular iPad. They have already released cheaper, smaller tablets that have been successful and a popular alternative to Apple's market-leading iPad.
However, if Apple does release an iPad Mini, it will compete directly with Amazon's Kindle Fire, and Barnes and Noble's Nook Tablet, and is sure to eat away at a significant share of that end of the market. The Google Nexus 7 is soon to be released for the smaller tablet market, and this will provide another competitor for the iPad Mini. But Apple is likely to take the lion's share of customers who would have to decide which smaller, cheaper tablet to purchase.
Way back in February the Wall Street Journal published a report that claimed a smaller tablet was already undergoing tests in Apple. However, it also highlighted that Apple tests dozens of product ideas each year that never make it to public release. The same publication recently reported that Apple suppliers were preparing for a mass production of smaller iPads from September. If those rumors prove to be true then the current smaller tablet market leaders will be concerned, especially if Apple can price the iPad Mini below $300.
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