As the buzz around the Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) iPad’s upcoming release grows, so do the number of rumors around either an iPad mini or some other smaller version of the tablet. Last week DigiTimes reported that Apple is likely to begin the production of 7.85 inch iPads in Q3 2012 to counter Amazon’s (NASDAQ:AMZN) Kindle Fire.  More recently, a leaked document from Samsung Securities revealed that the firm believes Apple is planning to release a 7-inch iPad mini device in the third quarter of 2012.  Our $550 price estimate for Apple stock is largely in line with the current market price
Apple coming under pressure from Amazon’s Kindle Fire
Amazon has certainly emerged as a major threat to Apple. The latest figures released by research firm IHS iSuppli revealed that Kindle Fire captured around 14% of global tablet shipments in Q4 2011.  With reported shipments of 3.9 million units, Amazon certainly could not have asked for a better start to 2012.
iPad mini to compete in lower priced tablet segment
Companies like Amazon and Research in Motion (NASDAQ:RIMM) have introduced lower priced tablets to compete with Apple in the tablet market. While Amazon’s Kindle Fire comes at a price of $199, RIM has slashed its basic tablet pricing to $199 a few weeks back. The $200 tablet price point has become a niche segment in which Apple would look to compete, and it might introduce iPad mini specifically targeting this segment.Notes:
- Apple likely to begin production of 7.85-inch iPads in 3Q12, say sources, DigiTimes, March 1st, 2012 [↩]
- APPLE IPAD MINI 7 INCH CONFIRMED APPLE IN TALK WITH SMD TO DELIVER FLEXIBLE AMOLEDS FOR FUTURE IPADS, Oled-Display.net, March 3rd, 2012 [↩]
- Apple’s Toughest Competition in the Fourth-Quarter Tablet Market Was…Apple, iSuppli, 16th Feb 2012 [↩]