Apple’s shrunken tablet, the iPad Mini, comes with a 7.9-inch screen. Not only is it smaller; it is also less expensive than the traditional 10-inch model. With this, Apple is poised to attract customers who might be turned off by the size or price tag of the bigger iPads.
Though iPad Mini is said to compete with rivals such as Amazon and Google, that have announced competitive 7-inch tablet PCs on the Android OS, Apple has maintained its premium brand tag and priced the Mini at $329 onwards, against $159 for the cheapest Kindle Fire and $249 for the Nexus 7.
The iPad Mini hits store shelves in the US starting November 2, but Apple has not disclosed its price for Indian markets or the launch dates.
The India market — set to touch 7.3 million units by 2015-16 — remains nascent, but steadily growing. The bulk of the Indian tablet PC market, say experts, tilts in favour of Rs 15,000-20,000 tablet PCs, dominated by Samsung and Micromax.
“India is a price-sensitive market; the only challenge for the tablet PC’s growth will be the prices of international players. With increasing penetration of computing devices in India, sales of tablet PC’s will definitely increase manifold, making it a $800-million market by 2016,” said Karan Chechi, research director with TechSci Research.
Apple’s iPad Mini, if priced below Rs 25,000, might trigger buyer interest. “The iPad Mini isn’t an attempt to be an iconic product; it is Apple diversifying its iPad line and going mainstream,” says Abhishek Chauhan, senior consultant, ICT Practice, Frost & Sullivan.
The new and shrunken iPad also makes an aggressive pitch to young buyers and executives, who would prefer portability in a compact tablet device. CyberMedia Research suggests about 90 vendors had launched their tablets till the second quarter, with the average selling price of the tablets dropping to Rs 13,000 from Rs 26,000 in the June quarter.
Says Faisal Kawoosa, lead analyst, CMR Telecoms Practice: “During 2Q 2012, 47.4 per cent of tablet sales were from new entrants in the market, with a strong focus on addressing application areas in the education and entertainment segments. This trend demonstrates clearly that vendors are positioning their devices at India’s youth.”