It has been a fair amount of time since we last heard any rumours pertaining to the mysterious iPad mini. But if anyone thought that the rumours had died down, a report by Kotaku who have obtained information via NetEase have reignited these speculations. As per the report, the smaller sized iPad will be launching by the third quarter of 2012 and it is rumoured that it will be priced from $249 to $299 and will compete directly with other lower end tablets in the market.

Samsung claims an iPad Mini coming this year

iPad mini to be priced starting from $249

As per the report, the website states, “NetEase claimed that the device will be released around the third quarter of this year to “counter attack” the upcoming Windows tablets. The report further claims that the devices will cost anywhere from US$249 to $299 and that there will be an initial 6 million units ready for launch.” The report ends by stating that Foxconn and Pegatron are the companies that are reportedly going to be manufacturing this tablet. The latter company was a subsidiary of Asustek who are reportedly manufacturing the Google range of tablets.

It may be really interesting if Apple does launch an iPad with a lower budget as the brand has lost a significant amount of market share to 7-inch tablets, the main one of these is the Amazon Kindle Fire which has eaten quite a bit of Apple’s share in the tablet market in comparison to other tablets. However, former Apple CEO, Steve Jobs had always been against a smaller sized tablet as he believed that only the 9.7-inch form factor was the way to go.

An interesting thing is that Apple has never succumbed to competition by launching products with lower prices. The brand had faced stiff competition from Windows when they launched their netbooks which had cannibalized Apple’s computer sales. However, they did not concede and instead had unveiled the MacBook Air, which is still quite costly in comparison. On the other hand, to tackle the competition they unveiled a new product altogether which is the iPad.

We have to see how that the whole thing pans out and if Apple does launch a smaller-sized iPad at a cheaper rate in comparison to their current crop of tablets which will hit Indian shores on the 27th of April 2012.

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