Earlier this week, we shared with you the results of a study coordinated by NPD Group that revealed the likelihood of the tablet being the #1 consumer demand item over PC notebooks by 2016.
According to the survey, Apple, with a 62.8 per cent tablet market share, will lead the charge to the top.
It seems the sleek tech giant has been planning for that occurrence: the Wall Street Journal reported today that Apple’s suppliers are preparing for the launch of a new tablet computer – this one featuring an 8-inch screen, which measures nearly 2 inches smaller than the full-size iPad’s – this spring.
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The mini tablet won’t feature the savvy high-def Retina display and may not host all available apps, but with a $US200-$250 price point, the release will be well-timed to keep Apple on par with the soaring popularity of other 7-inch screen tablets including Amazon’s Kindle Fire, Google’s Nexus 7 and Microsoft’s Surface tablet.
"From a competitive standpoint, we believe an iPad mini with a lower price point would be the competition's worst nightmare," said Shaw Wu, an analyst at Sterne Agee, in an earlier interview with Bloomberg. "Most (competitors) already have a tough enough time competing against the iPad 2, as well as the new iPad."
The product launch will be a clear example of CEO Tim Cook’s independent leadership: according to USA Today, former CEO Steve Jobs didn’t think much of the mini iPad concept.
"We don't think you can make a great tablet with a 7-inch screen," Jobs said in a 2010 earnings call. "The 7-inch tablets are tweeners, too big to compete with a smartphone and too small to compete with an iPad."