The iPad mini is coming. Multiple rumors have confirmed it, and yesterday, even the Wall Street Journal added its voice, saying Apple suppliers have begun mass production of the iPad mini. Now, the only question is: will it disappoint, or will be a hit?
Unconfirmed image leaks reveal a fancy tablet – weight 332 g, width 135 mm, height about 197 mm, depth 7.69 mm – with a 7.85-inch screen, which will hit the stores on November. But how will Apple sell the iPad mini?
Some say the iDevice will have a $249 starting price, which is good, as it is between the new iPod and the 3.5-inch iPod Touch, but still higher than its competitors: Google sell their Nexus 7, and Barnes & Noble their 7-inch tablet, as low as $199, while Amazon, who has the most powerful position in the 7-inch tablet market, markets its standard definition Kindle Fire for $159.
IHS Suppli said a while ago that Apple needs to launch the iPad mini to maintain its majority in the tablet market, and it needs to market it at low-cost. LTE support is questionable but possible, although the Wi-Fi-only iPad mini will certainly will be a hot seller.
While new pictures of iPad mini components emerge -- cases and earphone replacement parts -- the iPad mini is believed to be up to six weeks behind its forecasted launch schedule, at least according to Topeka Capital analyst Brian White. The reason: supplier issues. As White points out, the iPad mini specs are a challenge, and yields have been frustrating.
Digitimes, for example, reports that AU Optics, a Taiwan-based TFT-LCD maker, delivered only 400,000 iPad mini panels for Apple during the July to September period, much fewer than originally expected. However, it expects to boost production and ship about 4 million displays during the holiday quarter. This, however, is below Apple's expectations, as it projects to shop up to 10 million iPad-mini units during the October to December period. So, LG Display will definitively have to step in.
Also, the black-anodized aluminum case -- which is a winner, by the way -- causes low yield rates, as it is prone to scratching. Maybe Apple will need to rebrand the unbranded iPad mini to iPad S, with the S standing for “scratches”. This, however, remains to be seen.
Until then we can only hope the Apple investor got the info right, and Apple will indeed launch the iPad mini on October 17th. [Image credit: Witrigs.com and giz-china.com]Contact Us for News Tips, Corrections and Feedback