This item was originally published on Oct. 3, 2012 and updated on Oct 15.
One in four US adults now owns a tablet computer, and two-thirds of those who own a tablet purchased them in the last year, reports The Economist’s Leanback 2.0 blog. (This data does not reflect the introduction of the Google’s new 7-inch tablet, or Amazon’s new Kindle Fire HD, which might further skew the results in favor of Android-based devices.) Most of those tablets aren’t made by Apple, and an increasing proportion represent the smaller 7-inch devices that Steve Jobs claimed were too small to do justice to software designed for tablets.
We know how that story ends: Apple has almost certainly begun to manufacture a 7-inch “iPad mini” to be announced in October. With Google and Amazon’s 7-inch tablets going for $199, the question is whether Apple will be able to compete with that price, and how consumers will respond.
Update: A price for the 7-inch iPad may have surfaced in the systems of a German retailer, and it’s a bit higher than the Kindle Fire HD. The “iPad mini” is listed at a starting price of $323, while the Fire is $258. The veracity of the leak couldn’t be confirmed. Apple is expected to settle all these questions about the new device at an event on Oct. 23.