Apple rumored to be readying ‘iPad mini’

In an effort to offset the competition that is sure to be spurred by the Kindle Fire, Apple may be preparing to launch a cheaper iPad.

The Kindle Fire is set to come out next month at an almost irresistible price of $199. The full-featured Android tablet is gaining more traction than any of the tablets from other heavyweights in the consumer electronics industry.

Analysts are looking to the Amazon device as the potential iPad killer that we’ve all been waiting for since last year. Amazon was able to turn the world on its head with the Kindle, and there are high expectations it can do the same to tablets with the Kindle Fire.

But Ticonderoga Securities analyst Brian White has reportedly said he heard rumblings of an “iPad mini” while he was touring component supply manufacturers overseas.

If an iPad mini does come out, it would most certainly need to be around the same price as the Kindle Fire, which would be a huge discount compared to the regular iPad.

“We believe this lower priced iPad could be priced in the mid-to-high-$200 range. We expect this will be followed by a much more powerful, feature rich standard-priced iPad 3 in (the second quarter of 2012),” wrote White in an investor note.

Nevertheless, it surely won’t come out in 2011, leaving the Kindle Fire the ability to really sweep out the tablet market for holiday shoppers, especially since there is no new iPad coming out before the holidays.