It's safe to say that the iPad Mini is coming. Following years of rumors and speculation, a compact iPad model with a 7.85-inch screen is being confirmed left and right across the supply chain and among leading industry analysts with their ears close to trusted sources.
So when the iPad Mini finally rolls out, what will be the impact - both for consumers and for Apple?
For consumers, says Topeka Capital Markets analyst Brian White, the device will likely be a big hit and a must-have device, particularly in emerging tablet markets like China, where the cost of the regular-sized iPad is out of reach for many. So large are these markets, however, that the iPad Mini may see an initial sales surge that even tops the major waves made by the first-gen iPad's release in spring 2010.
In addition to the smaller price tag, the smaller size of the tablet will actually be a big selling point. "A 7.85-inch 'iPad Mini' would likely prove less obtrusive during social outings and more easily tucked into a purse or jacket than a 9.7-inch iPad," White believes.
The analyst predicted that a smaller iPad would impact the larger tablet by a "relatively minor" range of 10 to 20 percent.