Apple to launch the iPad mini?

Now that the iPhone 4S has launched, the Apple rumour bank seems pretty empty right now. So well done to BGR for finding the next potential product to hit the market, being dubbed the iPad mini.

Interestingly, it seems that the new iPad could be a reaction to the Amazon Kindle Fire, which is selling like hot cakes on pre-order right now. Quite simply, people love a cheap tablet. Just ask HP. It's said to be an entry-level tablet that could launch as soon as early 2012.

In a note to investors, Ticonderoga Securities analyst Brian White recounted meetings with technology supply chain companies at a trade show in China this week. With regard to Apple suppliers, he said: 'Our research is pointing to the unveiling of a lower priced iPad in the first few months of 2012 that is aimed at expanding the company’s market potential by tapping into a more price sensitive consumer segment.'

'Essentially, this 'iPad mini' will also fend off the recently announced Amazon Kindle Fire that addresses the low-end tablet market with a $199 price tag but could lead to bigger tablet ambitions from the online retailer in the future.'

He added that 'mini' didn't refer to a smaller screen size, but to the lower price. In terms of that price, he said: 'We believe this lower priced iPad could be priced in the mid-to-high-$200 range,' White said. 'We expect this will be followed by a much more powerful, feature-rich standard-priced iPad 3 in Q2 2012.'

So is Apple really worried by Amazon? If it means a cheap iPad coming our way, that's not a bad thing. More to follow on this for sure. With an iPad 3 and an iPhone 5, it looks like 2012 will be another busy one for Apple.

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