Analyst: iPad Mini will be "nightmare" for tablet rivals

Sterne Agee analyst Shaw Wu says he believes Apple’s upcoming iPad Mini will prove to be “the competition’s worst nightmare.”

According to Wu, tablet manufacturers have utterly failed to compete with Cupertino in the $400-and-up space and a smaller iPad priced below $300 is only expected to make it even more difficult for mobile rivals.

Wu also noted that competitors fielding Android tablets are already struggling to compete against the $399 iPad 2 and $499 iPad – and Apple hitting an even lower price point will only serve to expand its already impressive share of the tablet market.

However, says Wu, it remains unclear if Apple will decide to “go for the kill” against its competitors and accept lower margins to reach the coveted $199 price point of the Google Nexus 7 and Amazon Kindle Fire HD.

In any case, Wu points out that Apple probably doesn’t even need to hit a $199 price point to match Google and Amazon – as Cupertino’s iPad Mini will likely still be a success at a $350 price point.   

Although Cupertino has yet to officially acknowledge the existence of an iPad Mini, the tablet is expected to feature a 7.85-inch display, a screen resolution of 1,024-by-768 pixels and a smaller bezel.

Additional specs are thought to include a forward and rear facing cameras, as well as the new smaller Lightning connector found on the iPhone 5 and the latest iPods.

The new iPad Mini will undoubtedly boast a lower price point than its larger counterpart, enabling the device to more effectively compete against rival tablets like Amazon Kindle Fire and B&N’s Nook.

The iPad Mini will likely be unveiled on October 23rd alongside a slew of new Apple products, such as a 13-inch MacBook Pro with Retina display, a revamped iMac and perhaps even a next-gen Mac Mini. 

Recent reports seem to indicate that iPad Mini could hit physical and virtual shelves in Apple stores as early as November 2.