Apple and speculations always go hand in hand. Now everyone is speculating the release date of a smaller version of iPad, dubbed as iPad Mini and iPad Nano. Wall Street has been predicting for months that Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) could bring a low cost, smaller tablet to prevent its competitors from dominating the tablets market. Google’s Nexus 7 and Amazon’s Kindle Fire, both priced at $199, have grabbed more than one third of the U.S. tablet market. Apple’s iPad Mini, rumored to have a 7.85-inch screen, will be in the same segment as Nexus and Kindle Fire.
A source familiar with the matter told Reuters that Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) will host an event on October 23, to unveil the smaller iPad. Earlier, there have been several speculations about the release dates, but today AllThingsD, a technology website, revealed that people familiar with Apple’s plans have confirmed an October 23rd event for iPad Mini. The event is likely to be held in the Town Hall auditorium of Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL)’s headquarters in Cupertino, California.
Release of iPad Mini on October 23rd will definitely upset Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT), which is going to unveil its new Surface tablet and Windows 8 OS on October 25. Apple events are the most watched in the industry, and that will draw, to a certain extent, people’s attention away from the new Microsoft products. Furthermore, Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) will report its fourth quarter earnings on October 25.
The launch of iPad Mini may eat into the margins of Apple. Google and Amazon both have admitted that they don’t make much money from their tablets. Amazon’s Kindle Fire sells at break even prices, whereas Nexus 7 is sold at cost. On the other hand, Apple earned about 27 percent gross margin on the U.S. iPad sales last year. iPhones yield an even higher margin of about 54 percent. In order to compete with Google and Amazon, Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) is likely to price iPad Mini in the same range, or slightly higher than Nexus 7 and Kindle Fire (a lower price is out of question for Apple). So, it may reduce Apple’s total margins.
There have also been rumors regarding the launch of a 13-inch version of MacBook Pro with Retina display. Apple launched the 15-inch version with Retina display in June. According to 9to5 Mac’s Mark Gurman, a consistently reliable source said the 13-inch MacBook Pro with Retina display will also be released at October 23rd event. It will be in two configurations, with different storage and processors.
Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) stocks touched their all-time high of $705.07 on September 21, and are currently trading at $629.714.