Apple’s ‘iPad Mini’ Right Around The Corner

In January 2010, Apple introduced the groundbreaking tablet computer known as the iPad.

In 2011, the world got the iPad 2. And then, in 2012, the third-generation iPad delivered the most amazing iPad experience yet.

So what will 2013 hold in store for the Apple tablet franchise? Well, for starters, let’s not stop talking about 2012 yet.

Following months of speculation, supply chain sources and market analysts finally all appear to be in agreement in their belief that Apple is currently readying a so-called “iPad Mini.”

Such a product is almost now required of Apple if the company seeks to ward of competitors like Google and Microsoft who are aggressively targeting emerging markets with lower-priced tablets.

“We believe the launch of an iPad Mini — we expect September — will prove very popular in China,” says Brian White of Topeka Capital Markets, who thinks the device will deliver a screen that is between 7 and 8 inches in size. “Ultimately, that’s the iPad that will sell in mainland China,” he adds. “It’s not just the form factor, but also the price point [of an iPad Mini].“

“We would not be surprised if certain customers end up owning both a regular-sized iPad and an ‘iPad Mini,’ swapping between the two devices for different occasions,” White told investors this week. “With the introduction of iCloud, the content on the two iPads can be automatically duplicated and thus easier to swap between Apple devices.“

White believes the iPad Mini will be priced substantially lower than the regular sized iPad. The iPad Mini, he thinks, could go for as low as $250.