A report this week by market research firm IHS iSuppli foresees record sales of tablets in the future. Specifically, IHS said it expects unit sales to grow 85% to around 126 million devices in 2012, with Apple's
Show and tell
If the rumors are finally true, the most valuable company in the world may launch a 7.85-inch version of its popular iPad tablet this fall. This is another smart move by the Mac maker, and the timing couldn't be better. Tablets equipped with Microsoft's
The new entry-level iPad could deliver a devastating blow to rival Amazon.com
RIM wasn't alone, either. Barnes & Noble
Gunning for No. 1
However, that could change if the rumors about the iPad Mini prove to be true. According to Digitimes, Apple's new miniaturized tablet will use what's known as "G/F2" thin-film touch technology, giving it a thinner design compared with the existing iPad. And if industry sources are on the right track, the iPad Mini could cost between $200 and $250 a pop -- aligning it with Amazon's Kindle Fire, which sells for $199.
The Kindle Fire seized some of the tablet market last year, decreasing Apple's stake to 55.1%. But a new and cheaper iPad could cause Apple to trample the competition in its climb to the top. If the product comes to fruition, I have no doubt it will be a win for Apple.
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Fool contributor Tamara Rutter owns shares of Apple and Amazon.com. Follow her on Twitter, where she uses the handle @TamaraRutter, for more Foolish insights and investing advice. The Motley Fool owns shares of Amazon.com, Apple, and Microsoft. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of Amazon.com, Apple, and Microsoft, as well as writing puts on Barnes & Noble and creating bull call spread positions on Apple and Microsoft. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days.