There’s speculation by Digitimes Research that Apple is working a mini iPad (5 to 7 inches) due out early 2011 below $400. Why does Apple want to create a smaller competing device? The new and more portable mini will be used for those on the go and compete against the smaller ereaders including the Amazon Kindle reader, Barnes and Noble Nook reader, and Sony reader.
Is there room in the crowded ereader niche?
We will likely achieve maximum capacity in the ereader niche with a flood of them coming to market in 2010. Doesn’t matter whether the market can handle more competition, Apple will surely make a big splash. How do they intend to compete with limited availability of content (i.e. ebooks) and apps? Apple realize that they don’t have to get all their ducks in a row to be successful since the other ereaders have created apps (e.g. Kindle for iPad) already and the iBook store will eventually catch up (that’s the hope anyways). So the motto “build it and they will come” is Apple’s strategy!
What must the incumbent ereaders do to survive?
With yet another potential threat on the horizon, current popular ereaders must innovate to stay competitive or perish the way of ereader dinosaurs. Current market leaders must figure ways to incorporate new technology (e.g. color e-ink, faster processors, and touch technology) and optimize the tools to engage readers, enrich, and improve the reading experience. Ereader incumbents that best cater to reader needs will have the best chance of survival and those attempting to mimic all of iPad’s (mini or otherwise) functionality will undoubtedly fail.