Apple is preparing to launch a 7.85-inch iPad Mini in October near the rumored iPhone 5 release date.
TabTimes reports that Andy Hargreaves, an analyst with Pacific Crest issued a note to investors last week stating that Apple will likely launch the iPad Mini this fall, cutting into sales of the larger iPad.
Hargreaves believes the iPad Mini will have 8GB of storage, a 7.85-inch display and a $299 price. The iPad Mini would be priced higher than the just announced Google Nexus 7 tablet, which starts at $199, but Apple would reportedly make a 31% profit on each tablet sold.
iPad Mini rumors kicked into high gear in early 2012, and again right before WWDC 2012 when a source leaked what they claim is the back of the iPad Mini. Apple is reportedly testing the iPad mini on campus, which isn’t a surprise as companies like Apple routinely test new products, many of which never make it to the hands of consumers.
In the note to investors Hargreaves states that the iPad Mini will likely cut into sales of the current iPad by 25%, and could spell an end to the $399 iPad 2. He believes a 16GB iPad Mini will replace the larger 16GB iPad 2 model.
While Apple could easily retire the older iPad, they may also continue to sell a 16GB iPad Mini and a 16GB iPad 2 at the same price, offering choice to consumers much like the iPhone and iPod lines cross into each other in features and prices.
In the same note, Pacific Crest says we may see a refresh to the New iPad. Hargreaves believes we will see a new screen for the iPad, a new camera location and a better battery that reduces the weight of the New iPad. This would mark a very early update to the iPad, and sadly there is no mention of a better front facing camera for the new iPad.
While Steve Jobs was not a fan of the 7-inch tablet, Apple is surely tempted by the prospect of selling a cheaper iPad at a good profit to bring more users into the Apple ecosystem.