KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo recently published a research note into Apple’s notebook plans, a report in which he also detailed the Silicon Valley giant’s intention to launch not one, but two new iPad minis.
Adding further to the intrigue, Kuo said that Apple may have been forced to push back the launch of the iPad mini 2 with Retina Display until the fourth quarter because of production issues, a delay which could yet be filled by a new lower-priced model.
“Prior to iPad mini 2 launch, Apple might roll out a more affordable iPad mini to compete with Android products,” wrote Kuo. His research note was first reported by AppleInsider.
“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.”
Should this claim come to fruition, it will certainly worry the likes of Amazon (with the Kindle Fire) and Google (with the Nexus 7), which have both had reasonable success with their Android tablets, which are advertised around the $199 mark.
The move would at least make sense for Apple which, having finally tapped into demand for sub 10-inch tablets with the original iPad mini, is now looking to compete in the low-end markets, both for tablets and smartphones.
Apple is also rumored to be working on a lower-cost iPhone with a polycarbonate shell, with the model apparently set to launch later in the year.