Price the only point of debate for new mini iPad

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Price the only point of debate for new mini iPad

Those who follow Apple believe they have figured out most of the particulars of a smaller iPad that was expected to be revealed yesterday (Pacific Standard Time).

One big question remains, though: What will it cost?

Apple hasn’t said anything about the device, but the veil of secrecy it throws over not-yet-released products has been a see-through affair this year. Most of the details of the iPhone 5 were known well ahead of its launch a month ago.

In the case of the “iPad Mini” - its real name has been kept secret - tech bloggers and analysts expect a device with a screen measuring 7.85 inches on the diagonal, making it about half the size of the regular iPad. It would be slightly larger than the 7-inch tablets it’s presumably designed to compete with, including Amazon’s Kindle Fire and Google’s Nexus 7.

The Kindle Fire starts at $159, and the Nexus 7 at $199. Meanwhile, Apple sells the iPad 2 for $399 and the 4-inch iPod Touch for $199. Company watchers are pegging the price of the smaller iPad somewhere in between.

Most of the guesses range from $249 to $299, but the blog 9to5Mac said Monday that the price would be $329. That would make the mini iPad twice the price of the cheapest Kindle Fire and leave plenty of room for other manufacturers to snap up value shoppers this holiday season. The blog did not disclose its source and has had a mixed record in predicting details on unreleased Apple products.

Analysts such as Brian White of Topeka Capital Markets believe that Apple will also sell a step-up version of the mini iPad, one with the ability to access 4G cellular networks for an additional monthly fee. That’s a feature the cheaper, 7-inch tablets don’t have.

Apple was due to hold a presentation at a theater in San Jose, California, yesterday morning. The company typically starts selling a new phone or iPad a week or two after announcing it. But it could treat the new iPad as a minor product update, in which case it could start selling it right after the announcement.

Apple has sold 84 million iPads since their debut in April 2010.

Apart from the smaller iPad, Apple is also expected to refresh some other products. There’s speculation that the MacBook will come in a version with a 13-inch, high-resolution “Retina” screen.


AP



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