Is the Kindle Fire cutting into iPad sales already?

Amazon hasn't even launched the Android-based Kindle Fire tablet (it's due to be released on November 15) but two separate studies may show that the tablet could be making people think twice about purchasing Apple's popular iPad. Forbes reports that according to a ChangeWave survey of 2,600 early technology adopters, five percent of those surveyed said that they had already pre-ordered the Kindle Fire or were very likely to buy the tablet. By contrast only four percent of people surveyed back in 2010 had purchased or were highly likely to buy the iPad when it was first announced.

Not only that, but of that five percent of Kindle Fire fans, 26 percent of them said they would delay or hold off on plans to purchase the iPad. We are betting that the $199 price point is part of the reason for that statistic.

In another story today, News.com reports that sales of the iPad might actually be slowing down. Analyst Ashok Kumar of Rodman and Renshaw claims that iPad unit production has been cut down "due to moderating sell-through". He predicts that instead of 14 to 15 million iPad sales in the current fourth quarter, the numbers will be closer to 11 or 12 million units.

What does all this mean? For Amazon, it likely means that it will be selling a lot of Kindle Fire tablets. For Apple it means that while the iPad may still be the dominate tablet the rise of the Kindle Fire will almost definitely eat into its massive market share, more than any other tablet competitor up to now. Will Apple counter with a cheaper iPad of its own? Will Amazon make a bigger tablet that's priced closer to the iPad but with more features? Stay tuned.

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