Topeka Capital analyst Brian White reckons Apple will introduce its sixth generation iPhone in September, one month ahead of schedule. In addition, the rumoured iPad mini should also show up at about the same time. In the big scheme of things, the new iPad could be even more significant for Apple than the new iPhone and here is why.
The current iPhone 4S failed to live up to rather unrealistic expectations fueled by fanboy blogs and the tame Apple press, as it was nothing more than a glorified update of the previous version. With the 4S in mind, there is little doubt that an entirely new device, with a different form factor and larger screen will do quite well indeed.
Meanwhile Android is making serious inroads in the tablet market, but it still has a long way to go. High-end Android tablets met with little success, but Amazon’s Kindle Fire showed the world that cheap Android tabs are the way to go, right until the point its sales tanked. However, its short lived success apparently made Google shift its focus towards cheap 7-inchers, hence the Nexus tablet and Nvidia’s Kai platform.
If iPad mini rumours prove true, and at this point it seems they will, Apple could rain on Google’s parade. The iPad mini is said to feature a 7- to 7.85-inch screen and a very attractive price tag of about $250, at least according to analysts and rumourmongers. It could not only undercut Google’s tablet efforts, but Microsoft’s as well. The diverse iOS ecosystem is Apple trump card, as it boasts a lot more tablet-centric apps than Android, let alone Windows.
More importantly, a cheap iPad mini would signify a major shift in Apple’s long-term strategy. Apple does not have a habit of taking on the competition with lower prices and the iPad mini could do just that. It would not be without precedent, either. The old iPad 2 is currently selling at a discount and it offers pretty good value. Even the new iPad, with its Retina display does not seem too pricey compared to high-end Android tablets. In fact, Apple tablets seem to be the only products in the company’s range with a competitive price tag, especially when you factor in the ecosystem, updates and resale value. The same can’t be said of the iPhone, as new Android phones have outclassed it in almost every respect.
However, if Apple can get away with a small, cheap tablet, who is to say that it can’t do the same with the iPhone in a couple of years?