Apple Said to Plan Smaller iPad to Compete With Google Nexus

Apple plans to release a smaller iPad this year to compete successfully with its main rivals Microsoft and Google, reports claim Tuesday.

The news comes soon after Google introduced the Nexus 7 tablet. Photo: Folha do Pará/Flickr

Rumours considering the coming Apple’s device were first reported by Chinese web portal NetEase, which claims to have access to the East Asian companies which manufacture Apple products.

According to Bloomberg, two sources familiar with the matter revealed that Cupertino-based company intends to release a smaller and cheaper iPad by year-end in order to maintain dominance of the tablet market as Google and Microsoft prepare competing handheld devices.

A smaller, less expensive iPad would reportedly have a screen of about seven or eight inches, which is down from the standard 9.7-inch screen of the previous three versions. However, the device would not feature the retina display introduced with the most recent iPad a few months ago.

It’s predicted that the new version of the iPad could undercut the ambitions of Google, Microsoft and Amazon.com Inc. ‘to gain traction in the advancing tablet market’, said Shaw Wu, an analyst at Sterne Agee & Leach Inc.

According to the sources, the iPad Mini will apparently be made by controversial manufacturing firm Foxconn and by Pegatron, another Taiwan-based company, writes The Daily Mail.

However, it’s still unclear whether the mid-sized device – too large to fit in a pocket, but too small for a computer – would function as a cellphone or if it would preserve the functions of a tablet only.

As for the price, the smaller iPad will probably may be compared to Google’s Nexus 7 and Amazon’s Kindle Fire, both of which have 7-inch screens and are sold at $199.

“It would be the competitors’ worst nightmare,” Wu said in a recent interview. “The ball is in Apple’s court.” Trudy Muller, a spokeswoman for California-based Apple, declined to comment yesterday.

Since the iPad was released in April 2010, the company has been holding the tablet market, which is predicted by DisplaySearch to reach $66.4 billion this year. Gartner Inc estimated that Apple has 61 percent of the market.

While the idea of the iPad Mini might sound bizarre, Samsung’s version of the innovative tablet has already proved a success so far.

The Galaxy Note announced only a few months ago, has already sold more than 5million units. The Kindle Fire, Amazon’s first attempt to enter the tablet market, is significantly smaller than the iPad at just seven inches.

Meanwhile, The Financial Times writes that Samsung Galaxy S3 has had affected Apple’s Iphone sales in the UK following its release in May.

The statistics shows that the latest Iphone version 4S still tops the rating of most popular handsets in the UK with 20 per cent of the market. However, this percentage has fallen by five per cent since the release of the Galaxy S3.

Samsung Galaxy S3 has affected sales of the Iphone, accounting for close to 18 per cent of sales in the first week of the previous month. When total sales of Samsung phones are considered, the company accounts for around 30 per cent of the UK mobile market.

“In recent weeks, the popularity of the [Iphone] 4s has waned as the users of Apple’s iPhone have begun to wait until the next phone hits the market,” The Financial Times explains. “There was a similar trend ahead of the launch of the [Iphone] 4s in October.”

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