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Analysts, despite this higher-than-expected price point, are still projecting the new iPad mini will take the 7-inch tablet by storm, threatening the success of both Amazon's Kindle Fire HD and Google's Nexus 7.
"At 308 grams and 7.2-mm thin, the 7.9-inch tablet is lighter and thinner than competing Android offerings, including the Kindle Fire HD and the Google Nexus 7," wrote TBR analyst Beau Skonieczny in a research note last week. "Despite a premium starting price of $329 and a relatively low screen resolution of 1,024 x 768, TBR believes the iPad mini will be met with strong consumer demand in the fourth quarter of this year, as Apple maintains the advantage of a more established app ecosystem and an easy-to-use, consumer-oriented operating system."
Fellow analyst firm IHS iSuppli also expects Apple to dominate in the quickly growing 7-inch tablet space, despite being a late-comer to the market.
"Just as Apple has dominated the market for 9.7-inch tablets with its iPad, iPad 2 and new iPad models, the company is poised to rule the market for 7.x-inch products, driving rapid growth of the segment in 2012 and 2013,” said Rhoda Alexander, director of tablet and monitor research for HIS, in a research note. “The battle in the 7-inch space is highly spirited, with most of the other leading vendors already offering price-competitive products in this size range. IHS predicts Apple will successfully position the smaller iPad as a device that will be attractive and easy to adopt for both new and returning customers."
The new iPad mini comes in both Wi-Fi and Wi-Fi plus cellular models and is now available for pre-order.