Apple suppliers said to prepare for Mini iPad
Apple’s component suppliers in Asia are preparing for mass production in September of a new tablet computer with a smaller screen. People familiar with the situation spoke to the media, suggesting that the company is nearly ready to launch a Mini iPad.
The new tablet will likely come with a screen smaller than 8 inches, compared with the 9.7-inch screen of Apple’s latest version of the iPad, which was released in March. The iPad’s screen size has not been changed since the first model was released in 2010.
Officials at Apple’s component suppliers, who declined to be named, said this week that Apple has told them to prepare for mass production of the smaller tablet. Media observers comment that Apple is working with screen makers including LG Display Co. of South Korea and Taiwan-based AU Optronics Co..
A smaller tablet could help Apple maintain its dominant share of the tablet market at a time when competition is intensifying. Last year, the iPad held a 62% share of the worldwide tablet market, according to market research firm IHS iSuppli.
Last week, Google started taking orders for a tablet device with a 7-inch screen. Google is selling the Nexus 7 tablet for $199, the same as Amazon’s Kindle Fire, which came out last year and also has a 7-inch screen.
Microsoft’s new Surface tablet, which is expected to debut this fall, has a 10.6-inch display, larger than the iPad. Microsoft’s Windows Chief Steve Sinofsky said that the Surface will be “priced like comparable tablets.”