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Apple’s Asian component suppliers are purportedly gearing up to start production on the oft-rumored iPad Mini in September. While rumors have abounded for some time now, reports have been ratcheting up lately, and it seems that the iPad Mini may finally see the light of day later this year. If the reports are true, the Google Nexus 7 and Amazon Kindle Fire tablets are in deep trouble.

Richard Shim of NPD DisplaySearch says that Apple already has plans in motion for the production of a small tablet. “For the 7.85-inch panel, there’s a business plan for it, there’s a mass production target for it. And we know that it’s for Apple,” said Shim. “Everything is getting set up. We know the lines. We know how many panels are going to come out of the sheets of glass.”

With an estimated price tag that has been rumored to range from $249 to 299, Apple is set to light the tablet market on fire. They’re already dominating with their larger, higher priced iPads, and a more budget conscious model opens them up to an entirely new market.

google-nexus-7-vs-kindle-fireAmazon was the first to stir things up with their budget friendly Kindle Fire, and Google recently upped the ante with their Nexus 7 tablet. While the Nexus 7 is being widely praised and is likely to be the main competitor for a smaller iPad, it has a relatively short window to capitalize on. UnwiredView is reporting that Amazon has already ordered two million units of the 7-inch version of their new Kindle Fire with an August release date being targeted. While information on specs have been scarce, hardware similar to what the Google Nexus 7 is offering should be expected,  and the two tablets are likely to directly compete with one another.

Both Google and Amazon are in for a rude awakening if they think their latest offerings will turn the tablet market in their favor – well, if the rumors of the iPad Mini are true. As Google and Amazon duke it out, Apple will be quietly sitting on the sidelines as they prep their new toy to enter the fray, and they should have little trouble getting consumers to come over to their side once the iPad Mini hits retail.

Apple already has a more refined and mature OS, larger tablet-specific app library, fiercely loyal following, strong brand name recognition, and the distribution channels to eclipse Amazon and Google. And, perhaps most importantly, Apple’s digital content library is already on par with Amazon and it overshadows what Google has in their Google Play store.

With so much going in favor of Apple, Google and Amazon will have a tough time finding much success if the rumored Apple iPad Mini is released to the masses.

[via CNET, WSJ MarketWatch]

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