I am writing this on the eve of the launch of the next generation iPad. So speculations on what new features the iPad 3 will offer and what it means for tablet competition is definitely on my mind. As anyone who keeps up with tech news knows, the rumors get pretty wild in the days leading up to big announcements like these.
Aside from the new launch, there are two speculations that might have a more direct implication for the Kindle Fire. The first is the possibility of a 7.85 inch iPad Mini. Honestly, I can’t really see this fitting into the scope of Apple’s products. I could be wrong, but right now, there is a big enough gulf between the iPad 2 and the iPhone that consumers can reconcile having both. They serve different functions.
An iPad Mini would blur the lines a bit and give consumers less of a reason to have both. So it would cause internal competition for Apple. However, it would add some worthy competition to the smaller tablet market.
The other option is a budget version of the iPad 2. This assumption seems more viable because Apple has done this in the past with the iPhone, and has had good success with it. This would be an 8GB version as opposed to 16 or 32GB.
It depends on how much cheaper the iPad 2 is, but this is what could really give the Kindle Fire a run for its money. Right now, Amazon’s bestselling tablet’s biggest asset is that it packs a lot of features for a rock bottom price. Competitors certainly recognize that. Just look at the recent price drop on the Nook Tablet.
In the next few years, I would love to see a tablet emerge that has computing power comparable to the PC. Apple has that ability to to that with the iPad, but isn’t quite there yet. That leaves room for the smaller tablets to serve consumers who want something more portable, inexpensive and multipurpose without too much processing power.
So, I don’t really think the iPad 3 will have too much effect on the Kindle Fire competition wise. It serves a different market. The thing to watch will be the introduction of either a budget iPad or a less probable iPad Mini. So, all we can do at this point is sit back and see what happens.