The tablet segment that generates the most noise, apart from the iPad range, is those that make up the $199 – $250 price bracket. Apple is the latest that has woken up to this fact, with rumors saying that the Connecticut company might even have a stripped down iPad Mini for this price bracket. Of course, these are mere speculations at this moment, though it does make a lot of sense for Apple to have a competitor for low cost tablets. Such a scheme will ensure Apple has a presence in the entire tablet price spectrum starting from $199 to all the way up to $929 for the 128 GB 4G enabled iPad, which happens to be the costliest iPad on offer right now.
As for the purported budget iPad Mini, analyst Ming-Chi Kuo with KGI Securities believe will include quite a few changes to make it cost effective enough to be fielded in the lower price range.
“To cut costs, Apple might push for lower component prices, use a more advanced process to produce the A5 processor, simplify metal casing production, remove the rear camera, cut storage to 8GB and find more component suppliers to lower costs. We think this cheaper iPad mini retail for US$199~249,” revealed Kuo.
Apple is believed to be into developing a retina display equipped iPad Mini 2, though the launch of such a device might have been pushed back to the fourth quarter. A budget iPad Mini 2 might be a reality before that. Also, such a development perhaps marks a change in the Apple mindset that so far has been relying on a premium tag for all its products. A lower priced iPhone is also rumored to be in development. No doubt an iPad Mini priced as low as just $199 could prove to be too much for many of the Android tablets that have been relying on a low initial cost to entice consumers. It will be interesting to note the majority of Android tablets had settled down at the lower price bracket after failing to make a mark as an iPad competitor earlier during the evolution of the tablet segment. It will be cruel if Apple now chases them down in their own turf. The iPad Mini range now starts at $329 for the 16 GB Wi-Fi only version.