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Adding Fuel to the Fire? Is Apple Now Competing with Samsung Galaxy Note II or Kindle Fire and Nexus 7?

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With the court battle over patents still hanging in the balance between Apple and Samsung, the news of the unveiling of a smaller iPad may not help the relationship, or lack thereof, for the two competitors. The October 23rd scheduled event is expected to be about Apple’s smaller iPad that is expected to take on the lower-cost devices sold by Amazon and Google.

Apple stock rose almost $2 Friday as the announcement of the iPad mini tablet unveiling was reported as the news was expected much earlier. Analysts feel the move is in competition with the sale of the Microsoft Surface tablet, since it will be held just three days before the MSFT goes on sale. Is it possible that the iPad news was meant to over shadow the MSFT? This move pushes the likely release date of the new iPad into early November instead of late October.

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What’s new with the iPad? Will the new 7.85 inch display and ultra-thin aluminum body with an anodized finish, similar to the iPhone 5, be a hit? The big guys from Wall Street have anticipated a smaller and less costly version of the iPad to push out cheaper devices, but they also feel it could hurt the Apple bottom line more than it helps, although it would prevent rivals from an increasing market segment.

Consumers look to the Amazon e-commerce market to pick up the Kindle Fire HD tablet and the Google version Nexus 7, which both come with 7 inch screens for under $200. Kindle Fire picked up almost 20 percent of the US tablet market last year. The Nexus 7 was also a hit as it sold out shortly after it was rolled out. While the source remains confidential, the news that Apple is going to unveil a major product days before the Windows 8 and Surface tablet on October 26 is suspicious timing.

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An unnamed Wall Street analyst claims to have seen the iPad mini while in Asia. The source reported that the unit is a perfect size to hold in your hands and fit his sports coat perfectly making it a more mobile unit than previous versions. The smaller iPad could turn out to be a risk for Apple in that the Kindle Fire nor the Nexus 7 have made Google and Amazon a bundle of bucks. While the Kindle barely breaks even, there are a lot of sales of content, music, and books to balance it out. Google has also admitted there is no profit margin on the Nexus 7. Experts say that Apple would have to price its unit between $299 and $349 to maintain current margins, while the Kindle Fire and Nexus 7 are sold at $199.

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Engineers say the biggest cost to a tablet is in the display, but with a smaller screen, it will be a little cheaper for the mini. The late Steve Jobs was not in favor of a smaller screen, but other officials within the firm believed there was a market for it. Jobs later warmed up to the idea according to sources within the company.

Although a press release is scheduled for October 23, Apple has not yet said anything about a smaller tablet, but industry watchers have believed for a while now that a mini will be released before the holidays.

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