iPad mini

Could it be an Apple-filled holiday season? Rumor has it that Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) is gearing up to release the iPad Mini shortly after they release the highly anticipated iPhone 5 in September.

This report comes from Ming Chi Kuo, an analyst for KGI. He sent his clients a note on Tuesday morning that claimed the sixth generation iPhone will arrive in stores in September, and that “due to in-cell touch panel and casing yield rate limits, ability to offset older models’ shipments decrease will be moderate.”  He also said that the technology components for Apple’s iPad Mini will start shipping in August which means the new iPad line will end production and will be ready for a modified new line of iPads.

The rumored iPad Mini is expected to feature a thin design, 7.85 inch display, and a lower price that starts at $249.  So far, the iPad Mini has yet to be confirmed, and it may not even be in the works.  And although the iPhone 5 has yet to be confirmed, it is expected to hit stores sometime in the fall. As this current rumor speculates September, it’s more probable that it will be released sometime in October, mirroring last year’s release of the iPhone 4s.

If Apple ever decides to release the iPad Mini, it’s probably going to be a supplement to the larger iPad.  It will also, most likely, phase out production of the iPod Touch, which is like an all-in-one miniature tablet/MP3 player, as it lets you surf the net, play games, and use iOS applications.  I see the iPad Mini competing with the likes of the Kindle Fire and Barnes & Noble Nook, but I don’t see it replacing the larger iPad. I really doubt Apple will provide their smaller device with all the same features as the larger device, simply because that would defeat the whole purpose of the original tablet concept.  With that mindset, I’m not sure how the iPad Mini will fare if it is released to the public. If the price points $249 to $299 are true, the Android-based Kindle Fire is still a bargain. And while people who already have the larger iPad may want a supplement smaller version for travel or family use, I’m not really certain if they’re comfortable paying nearly $300 for a device that may be limited in a lot of ways. Either way, it should be interesting to see if the iPad Mini does exist, and if it does,  will live up to all the surrounding hype?