Apple is largely expected to unveil a new, smaller iPad on Oct. 23,a move one analyst predicts could further stifle an already struggling PC market.
According to a research note from J.P. Morgan analyst Mark Moskowitz obtained by CNET Monday, Apple's new tablet, presumably called the iPad Mini, will eat into sales of traditional notebook and desktop PCs, fueling a trend already put into motion by Apple's larger iPads and other, competing tablets.
"In our view, the iPad Mini stands to target price-sensitive users and the e-reader crowd," Moskowitz wrote in the note, according to CNET. "Given the global economic uncertainty, we think price-sensitive users could gravitate toward an iPad Mini instead of making a PC purchase."
Reports of a smaller-size iPad have been swirling for months, with Apple finally giving word of an Oct. 23 launch event last week. The new tablet is expected to tout a 7.85-inch display, downsized from the 9.5-inch display used in the three prior-generation iPads. It's also largely anticipated to be thinner, but slightly more lower end than other iPads in terms of specs, lacking Apple's next-generation Retina Display and supporting only Wi-Fi, rather than 3G or 4G networks.
That said, Moskowitz predicts that these more midrange specs will move the new tablet to a lower price point than its predecessors.
"Our research indicates that the smaller size, absence of Retina Display, and less storage capacity underpin the base model's potential price point of $249," he said.
The iPad Mini's more mainstream price point, in addition to consumers generally refreshing their smartphone and tablets more frequently than their PCs, will only further sway buyers toward the new tablet, Moskowtiz continued.
If the iPad Mini does, in fact, lure consumers away from more traditional PC purchases, it will deal a blow to an already weakening global PC market. Gartner reported this month that 87.5 million PCs shipped in the third quarter, marking a hefty 8.3 percent decline compared with same quarter last year. The drop was attributed to a weak global economy, coupled with the fact that many consumers are reserving their PC purchases for those running Microsoft's upcoming Windows 8 OS, set to launch on Oct. 26.
PUBLISHED OCT. 22, 2012