Analyst: Apple may launch $199-$249 iPad mini soon

With the release of an updated iPad mini looming, rumors surrounding the device are coming fast. Ming-Chi Kuo, an analyst with KGI Securities, has published a note that may offer some insight into a likely future for Apple's smaller tablet.

Given that Android is beginning to increase its share substantially in the tablet market, causing Apple's estimated share to slip below 50 percent in Q1 2013, Kuo focuses mainly on price. He believes that in order to hold on to the majority market share, Apple must drive down costs through cheaper components and more streamlined chip production processes.

Prior to the iPad mini 2 launch, Apple might roll out a more affordable iPad mini to compete with Android products. To cut costs, Apple must 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 fine more component suppliers to lower costs. We think this cheaper iPad mini [will] retail for $199-249.

Whilst Kuo does not think a budget iPad would drive a massive number of sales, he believes that such a device would help to fend off attacks from competing Android tablets of a similar or lower price point.

As MacRumors user darwynn points out, however, Apple may simply continue selling the previous generation of the mini at a reduced price, whilst releasing the second generation in tandem. Commenter siurpeeman adds that the new iPad mini would take the current $329 price point, whilst the original generation would drop down to just $229.

With the tech giant potentially following a similar trend with a lower-cost iPhone constructed from polycarbonate, it's barely a small leap to suggest similar plans may be in place for their wildly popular tablet.

Source: MacRumorsImage via Apple

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