Apple readies smaller, cheaper iPad

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Apple readies smaller, cheaper iPad
Google's Nexus 7.

Apple will launch a bite-sized version of its market-leading iPad by the end of the year, following the launch of a smaller and cheaper tablet device by Android maker Google.

The ‘iPad mini’ will be released in October minus the high-definition ‘retina display’ screen seen on the latest iteration of Apple’s iPad, according to a Bloomberg report.

Its screen will measure 7in to 8in diagonally, and the device is expected to retail for around $US199 ($A193). Apple’s latest iPad measures 9.7in, with the wi-fi 16GB model priced at $A539.

Apple’s upcoming mini iPad will join the similarly priced Amazon Kindle Fire and the recently-launched Google Nexus 7 in the 7in tablet market.

The Nexus 7 is priced at $A249 for the 8GB model through Google’s Play store. The Amazon Kindle Fire is not directly available in Australia but is priced around $US199 ($A193) in the US.

Apple is currently the clear leader in the tablet market, according to analyst firm Gartner.

The iDevice giant shipped almost 40 million tablets in 2011, more than double those running Android, which came in at 17.2 million.

Gartner predicts Apple's iOS tablet devices will account for 61 percent of worldwide tablet sales in 2012.

The Asus-built Nexus 7 tablet is the first device to run Google’s next-generation version of Android, 4.1 "Jelly Bean".

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