The iPad Mini, which has not been announced or even acknowledged by Apple, will offer a 7.85-inch display, according to the Times' sources. Reports from The Wall Street Journal and Bloomberg in recent weeks have also suggested the device will have a 7.85-inch screen. None of the reports has included information about the iPad Mini's potential screen ratio. Will it be the same as the iPad with a 4:3 screen, or will it be something closer to 16:9?
Adding a smaller tablet to its device roster, which would join the iPod Touch, iPhone 4S, and new iPad, doesn't guarantee Apple any sort of success. A smaller screen and more transportable footprint don't ensure a winner. That's why the price of the iPad Mini is crucial.
The iPod Touch sells for $199-$249 and the new iPad sells for $499-$829, depending on options. Looking at the entry-level prices of $199 and $499, the price gap doesn't leave Apple a lot of wiggle room to price the iPad Mini. According to the Times, Apple "is likely to sell for significantly less than the latest $499 iPad." That could mean anything, really.
Apple has new competitors to worry about. The Amazon Kindle Fire costs $199, as does the new Google Nexus 7 (made by Asus). The Nexus 7 runs the latest version of Android and includes a 7-inch display. It's one of the best Android tablets on the market and the $199 price point for the 8-GB model makes it a very attractive option for consumers.
[ Learn 10 Ways Kindle Fire 2 Must Top Google Nexus. ]
The one niggle for Google, however, is that the $199 price point doesn't leave it much room when it comes to margins, at least for the 8-GB model, which costs the company $152 to build. It has more room for profit on the 16-GB version, which costs Google/Asus $159 to manufacture, but sells for $249.
Personally, I don't see how Apple could charge less than $299 for an iPad Mini. That would give it a $100 price point above the entry-level iPod and still be "significantly less" than the $499 iPad.
Apple is expected to announce the iPad Mini later this year. The device itself is expected to reach the market before the holiday shopping season kicks off.