Researchers say that success for the Kindle Fire and Nexus 7 has not only lit up the Android tablet market, but also forced Apple to tweak its ethos from one which, under Steve Jobs, was famously dismissive of 7-inch slates.
“The rumored smaller, cheaper iPad marks a significant shift in Apple’s strategy,” said Adam Leach, principal analyst at Ovum.
“For the first time in its recent history it is responding to market pressures from its competitors, namely Google and Amazon, in bringing a smaller tablet to market.
“Apple in the past has defined new products with new form factors and waited for the market to follow, but in this instance Apple is following the market trend towards smaller and cheaper tablet form factors. This reflects a fundamental change in the way Apple operates.”
One analyst claims that Apple’s decision to follow in the footsteps of Amazon and Google is down to the now ‘massive demand’ for devices of this size.
“We noted a big spike in sales of 7-inch tablets in August and September, and our figures show that there is now massive demand for this form factor,” said Context mobile computing analyst Salman Chaudhry.
“A 7-inch iPad should worry most of the competition in the tablet space but most of all, we expect it to take revenues away from Amazon, as an iPad Mini will make the device much more of a content consumption device than its siblings.”