Tomorrow Apple will hold an event in San Jose, CA to unveil a highly anticipated addition to its iPad line-up. The long-rumoured smaller iPad (reportedly called ‘iPad Mini’ or ‘iPad Air’) is expected to be priced to compete directly with Amazon’s Kindle Fire and Google’s Nexus 7 tablet, both priced at $199. Although it is considered unlikely that Apple will match that price point, analysts expect a starting price way below the $499 of the cheapest full-size iPad.
Apple’s competitors will likely be on the edge of their seats when Tim Cook and Co. announce details about the all but confirmed tablet. If Apple manages to offer a competitive product at a price close enough to $199, Google and Amazon will see the biggest selling point of their tablets disappear. This could reinforce Apple’s stranglehold on the tablet market just as its competitors were starting to see some light.
In the second quarter of 2012, Apple’s market share was 68 percent, i.e. Apple shipped more than twice as many tablets as all of its competitors combined. In the September quarter (the numbers are not out yet), Apple’s market share will likely come in a little lower, as Google’s Nexus 7 has reportedly had a successful start. It will be interesting to see how the tablet market develops over the next few quarters with another iPad, more Android tablets and the first Windows 8 tablets in the mix.