Reports are circulating that Apple will launch a iPad Mini device in Q3 2011, a tablet that will be smaller than the company's current iPads and offer a more approachable price tag for many Americans who have shied away from the company's $499 devices.
According to Chinese-language news site NetEase the "iPad mini" will be introduced with a price point between $249 and $299 although Apple is not confirming the existence of the new iPad device.
The move to produce a smaller more affordable tablet makes sense from a competition standpoint as Windows 8 tablets are expected to flood the market with cheaper alternatives. Apple could easily wait and see if consumers flock to Windows 8 based tablets however a more pro-active approach could take some of the media attention away from Microsoft.
That same report states that Apple is preparing 6 million initial units for launch although no major parts manufacturers have confirmed any Apple hardware purchased at this time that would point to an iPad Mini type device.
This isn't the first time Apple has been rumored to be created an iPad Mini device and those other reports have also pointed to a Q3 2012 release for the new offering.
While a lower-cost Apple device could deal a serious blow to Windows 8 tablets users could still flock to the Microsoft product which will likely feature a larger display for lower price points.
Would you be willing to ditch a Microsoft Windows 8 tablet for an iPad Mini or do you like the idea of a tablet PC with a fully operational Windows operating system?