Trick and Treat: Apple to Shrink iPad, Release New ‘iPad Mini’ This October

Last week we learned that Apple may be planning to release its next smartphone, the iPhone 5, on September 21. Now, a new report indicates that the California-based tech company is planning to launch a new, trimmed-down version of the iPad the following month.

Technology blog AllThingsD says that several of its sources indicate that an “iPad Mini” will hit retail stores in October, roughly one month after the release of the iPhone 5. The reason for such a release date is quite simple: Apple wants to give consumers all the time they need to come up with the cash to purchase both products.

There’s plenty of reason for Apple to launch a smaller version of the iPad. Right now the standard 10-inch iPad 3 retails for around $500, representing a major purchase for many consumers.

In response to a lingering economic downturn, several firms have released smaller tablet computers with fewer bells and whistles than can be seen on the iPad. Barnes & Noble, Google, and Amazon have all released sub-$200 tablets, and it’s expected Microsoft will price at least one version of its upcoming Surface tablet at $199.

While none of these devices will ever threaten the market dominance of Apple’s existing iPad, there’s no doubt that they will continue to eat away at the firm’s market share, particularly as the U.S. economy struggles to rebound.

It’s expected an iPad Mini will ship with a seven- or eight-inch display and may feature a less powerful processor than its bigger brother. Other reports suggest it may share more features with the iPod Touch than the iPad 3.

For now, Apple has remained quiet on possible future releases of an iPad Mini or an iPhone 5. However, experts say that official announcements about these devices will emerge in the coming weeks.

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