The Wall Street Journal reports that Apple (AAPL) has placed an order of over 10 million iPad minis for the 4th quarter of this year to meet expected demand. The figure, which according to the paper nearly doubles the size of orders that Amazon (AMZN) had placed for its Kindle Fire tablets for the same quarter, comes from component suppliers to Apple in Asia, including Taiwan.
The figure indicates that despite stiff competition in the market — the iPad Mini will be a direct competitor to Amazon (AMZN)’s Kindle tablets and also Google (GOOG)’s Nexus 7 — Apple’s much-rumoured smaller iPad tablet is well on its way to becoming another retail blockbuster.
The Journal however, stated that the challenge for Apple will be to price the smaller tablet attractively in order for it to succeed. Amazon’s 7-inch Kindle Fire HD sells for $199 and Google GOOG’s 7-inch Nexus 7 sells for $199.
“iPad mini will be a big hit if Apple prices it below $300,” said RBS analyst Wanli Wang.
It’s worth noting that Apple hasn’t confirmed any of the rumours and speculation it’s planning to make or launch a smaller tablet dubbed by the industry as the iPad mini, so the existence of the device for the time being remains unconfirmed. However, the latest iPad news comes less than a week after another WSJ report said Apple had already begun production of the much-rumoured 7.85-inch device ahead of a possible October launch.
Fortune recently also reported, citing a “major Apple investor,” that Cupertino was set to issue press invitations on Oct. 10 for an iPad mini-focused media event. The report also suggested that if Apple follows its typical scheduling protocol, we could see a iPad mini special event to unveil the product on Wednesday, Oct. 17, with a launch day of Friday Nov. 2, just in time for the lucrative holiday shopping season.
The iPad-Mini is expected to be equipped with Apple’s A5 dual-core processor, 1GB RAM and have a narrower bezel allowing for a larger screen in the 7.85-inch form factor, compared to the 9.7-inch screen on Apple’s current iPad version. The iPad miniature is also expected to come with a front and back side camera, Wifi, and dipper Facebook (FB) and Google Map integration.