Tablets are the one of the most competitive arenas in consumer technology right now, with multiple tech giants fighting for a piece of the growing market, including Microsoft and Google. But the expected unveiling of a smaller iPad today would be particularly notable as a new stage in the ever-expanding rivalry between Apple and Amazon.
Apple’s media event starts at 10 a.m. Pacific time, and the company will be streaming it live this time around via Apple TV and Apple.com.
Ars Technica has a good roundup of the last-minute leaks, pointing to an iPad mini with a 7.85-inch screen. A smaller iPad would go head-to-head with Amazon’s Kindle Fire lineup, which expanded this year beyond the original 7-inch size to include the new 8.9-inch Kindle Fire HD. The current iPad has a 9.7 inch screen.
Although the unveiling of the iPad mini is widely assumed, the big question will be price. Amazon’s original Kindle Fire sells for $159, the 7-inch Kindle Fire HD goes for $199, and the 8.9-inch version is $299, or $499 with 4G LTE wireless connectivity.
Jeff Bezos differentiated Amazon’s approach from Apple during the company’s Kindle Fire HD event with a statement that he called the Amazon Doctrine: “We want to make money when people use our devices, not when they buy our devices,” he said.
That said, if Apple can get the new iPad mini below $300, this rivalry starts to get even more interesting.