Apple’s arrival in the seven-inch tablet space will jump-start a race for domination and double the market for the form factor in both 2012 and 2013, analyst firm IHS iSuppli has claimed.
The market watcher predicted that seven-inch devices will mushroom by 100 per cent this year to 34 million units, up from 17 million in 2011.
In 2013, sales are set to double again to 67 million – a whopping 97 per cent increase, IHS said.
After much speculation Apple threw itself into the mix yesterday with the launch of the iPad Mini, with chief executive Tim Cook unveiling the device in typical Apple style.
The gadget is 7.9in (20cm) high, and weighs in at 0.3kg – half the weight of the existing iPad. It is also 7.2mm thin.
However, the pricing is £269 for the new device, which makes it considerably more expensive than some of its rivals – with the Google Nexus 7 around £70 cheaper, and the Amazon Kindle Fire around £110 cheaper.
To add to the shock pricing news, Apple also revealed it was upgrading its full-sized iPad six months after the iPad 3 launch, with the iPad 4 set to have double the processing speed.
Rhoda Alexander, director of tablet and monitor research at IHS, said Apple could possibly dominate the smaller seven-inch market.
“The battle in the seven-inch space is highly spirited, with most of the other leading vendors already offering price-competitive products in this size range. “IHS predicts Apple will successfully position the smaller iPad as a device that will be attractive and easy to adopt for both new and returning customers.
“This will spur rapid sales growth and provide tough competition for other companies contending in this size range.” The analyst even went so far as to describe its 2013 forecast as ‘conservative’ with the market potentially growing even more, especially in Asia.
Alexander added: “The major factor limiting shipments of the smaller iPad will not be demand, but a combination of production challenges and potential component supply issues.
“Reported production difficulties point to the likelihood that Apple is once again pushing design boundaries with the new product. Sources also indicate there have been some supply issues for parts used in the Apple Lightning connector and in the display. If Apple can resolve these issues rapidly, 2013 shipments and sales may exceed the current forecast dramatically.”
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