Apple’s never been a company to lack confidence, and if the latest reports surrounding the iPad Mini are accurage, Apple is expecting its rumored – though officially non-existent – product to be a blockbuster hit.
According to a recent report in the Wall Street Journal, component suppliers in Apple’s supply chain in Asia are noting that orders for the rumored mini tablet have already come in and that they’re large enough to manufacture upwards of 10 million devices for the fourth quarter of 2012. By way of contrast, that’s about double the orders for Kindle Fire devices placed by Amazon for the same three-month period.
Although Apple is still the biggest tablet maker in the world, its share of the market has been slipping following the launch of Android-based products.
According to market research firm iSuppli, Apple’s share of the worldwide tablet market was 69.6% in the second quarter, down from nearly 84% in 2010. The second-largest player was Samsung Electronics with 9.2% of the market in the second quarter.
So while Apple still has a healthy lead in the tablet market, competitors have been able to chip away at Apple’s lead with smaller devices at cheaper pricepoints, like the Google Nexus 7 and the aforementioned Kindle Fire. The iPad Mini will likely be positioned to eliminate any price umbrella Apple’s tablet competitors currently enjoy. Some early rumblings have pointed to a price in the $199-$250 range. With a 332GB iPod Touch now starting at $299, it’ll be interesting to see how Apple prices the iPad Mini and how much capacity it’s going to come with.
Lastly, a report from analyst Brian White last week claimed that yields on the upcoming iPad Mini are more challenging than expected and that initial supply of the device may be tight during the first month of availability.
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