Apple to launch smaller and cheaper machine that could be on shelves this autumn
- Smaller cheaper machine to launch ‘soon’ claim factory sources
- Screen between 7 and 8 inches
- Built to compete with cheap rivals such as Google’s £159 Nexus 7
- Sources in Apple’s supply chain claim tablet is already in production
- Earlier leaks hinted tablet would be on sale later this year
- Launch will go directly against Apple founder Steve Jobs wishes
Apple is notoriously secretive about its technical innovations and rumours of the smaller tablet are said to have originated from the Far East, where many of the company’s devices are manufactured.
They were reported by Bloomberg and the Wall Street Journal, which quoted several unnamed sources within Apple’s supply chain. A UK spokesman last night said: ‘Apple does not comment on rumour or speculation.’
The current iPad costs upwards of £399 and industry insiders said an ‘iPad Mini’ would be an obvious response to competition from rival tablets such as Google’s seven-inch £159 Nexus 7.
Far Eastern technology blogs also hinted that a launch by Apple was imminent. Sterne Agee analyst Shaw Wu predicts that the move would be a devastating blow for Android competitors. ‘It would be the competitors’ worst nightmare,’ he said.
The late Apple co-founder Steve Jobs, who died last October, was vehemently against a smaller iPad, saying in 2010: ‘The reason we won’t make a seven-inch tablet isn’t because we don’t want to hit a lower price point, it’s because we think the screen is too small to express the software.’
The iPad Mini would show that Apple is prepared to break away from former chief exec Steve Jobs’ deeply-held mantras.