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Are Apple about to Launch iPad Mini?

Rumours are abound that Apple are building a new iPad mini and sources from factories claim the new device could be in stores as early as this autumn. The iPad mini would rival cheaper versions of the iPad tablet such as Google’s Nexus 7 which retails at £159 but would go against the wishes of former Apple founder and CEO Steve Jobs. It is thought the screen size would be around 7 and 8 inches and sources in Apple’s supply chain are confirming that the mini tablet is already in production. In fact leaks earlier this year from Apple’s Far Eastern factories already confirmed that the iPad mini would be on sale later this year.

The original iPad

Bloomberg and the Wall Street Journal are several publications that are confirming the rumours with unnamed sources supposedly within Apple’s supply chain and reports by Far Eastern technology blogs also hinting that an iPad mini launch was imminent. However this launch will go against the wishes of the late Apple co-founder Steve Jobs who was adamantly against a smaller iPad mini, but with market pressure and the competition hotting up, it appears that Apple decided to go ahead without his blessing. Shaw Wu, an analyst from Sterne Agee says that if this new machine is on the horizion it would be a devastating blow for Android competors. “It would be the competitors’ worst nightmare,” Wu said. “The ball is in Apple’s court.” It would also show that Apple, as a company, are prepared to move away from former CEO Steve Jobs’ ideals and ideologies. Jobs, who passed away last October, had always publicly derided the smaller tablet model, in particular the seven-inch form-factor, which now it seems is becoming the standard for smaller tablets.

Microsoft Surface tablet

In a 2010 earnings call, Jobs said, “One naturally thinks that a seven-inch screen would offer 70 percent of the benefits of a ten-inch screen. Unfortunately, this is far from the truth. … The reason we won’t make a seven-inch tablet isn’t because we don’t want to hit a lower price point, it’s because we think the screen is too small to express the software.” It seems that executives at Apple have had a 180 u turn and are manufacturing the new iPad mini as a direct response to the launch of many smaller, and cheaper Android tablets such as Google’s Nexus 7, a 7-inch tablet which is priced at £159. The Nexus boasts a high-definition screen, the latest ‘quad-core’ processor, it runs the latest version of Android, and has a battery life which can handle nine hours of continuous video playback. Apple also has to contend with the new range of iPad rivals such as Microsoft’s Surface tablet which was revealed last week, and current Android tablets including the Kindle Fire. Two versions will be available, one with 8GB of storage for $199 and a second with 16GB for $249. By comparison, Apple’s new iPad, which has a larger 9.7 inch screen, costs $399 for a 16GB version.

The launch of Google's Nexus 7

Reports earlier this year by a Samsung official also appeared to confirm the manufacture of an iPad Mini as the official said to a Korean newspaper, “The amount of the current contract [between Apple and Samsung] is around $9.7billion. The contract is expected to rise to $11billion by the end of this year as Apple is planning to release a smaller iPad, probably with a 7.85-inch screen, and to sell more of its MacBook Air PCs using Samsung’s faster solid state drive (SSD) storage.”

Watch this space for more news on the iPad mini!

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