Smaller, cheaper iPad reportedly on the way from Apple

Google recently announced its new Nexus tablet, a 7-inch device designed as a smaller, low-cost alternative to Apple’s iPad. But now it looks like Apple is preparing a similar device of its own. 

Apple plans to release a device to compete with Google’s Nexus 7 tablet by the end of the year, according to two unnamed sources referenced in a recent Bloomberg article. The news agency said the sources have knowledge of Apple’s plans but asked not to be identified because the company hasn’t made the plans public.

Not many details of the iPad Mini, as some observers have nicknamed the rumored device, were discussed, but the sources said the screen size would be between seven and eight inches. The expected cost is unknown but will likely be close to $199, the price of the Nexus 7 and Amazon’s Kindle Fire, another 7-inch tablet.

It’s unclear what other features, such as mobile data connectivity, will be available, or what kind of display and internal storage the device will offer.

Before this report, a 7-inch iPad had been rumored by several tech blogs. There’s also significant interest among consumers for the hypothetical device, according to a recent survey from shopping website PriceGrabber.com. When 2,000 people were asked if they would consider buying a seven-inch iPad priced between $249 and $300, 52% said yes.

So far, the iPad has dominated the tablet market, and competitors have recently shifted their focus to parts of the market that aren’t being satisfied by Apple’s device. Amazon, and now Google, have targeted consumers looking for a cheaper tablet, while Microsoft has recently announced its new line of Surface tablets, which appear to be high-end devices aimed at enterprises and professionals.

Many analysts have said a smaller, cheaper iPad could prevent Google and Amazon from making much of a dent in Apple’s dominance when it comes to tablets.

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