Apple to launch iPad mini to take on Nexus 7 and Kindle Fire?

Bloomberg’s latest report has sparked rumours that Apple will be launching a mini iPad this October, which could compete with Google’s Nexus 7 and Amazon’s Kindle Fire.
The report says, The new model will have a screen that’s 7 inches to 8 inches diagonally, less than the current 9.7-inch version, said the people, who asked not to be identified because Apple hasn’t made its plans public. Its unlikely that the iPad mini will have Retina Display like the new iPad.
So if Apple does launch the iPad mini what will the be competition like? Well mostly Google’s Nexus 7 and Amazon’s Kindle Fire.
Nexus 7 which was launched amid much buzz and fanfare, is the first seven inch tablet with 1.3GHz Nvidia Tegra 3 quad-core CPU, which includes a 12-core Graphics Processing Unit (GPU). The Kindle on the other hand has OMPA 4430, dual-core processor, clocked at 1GHz thus making it much slower than Nexus 7. The Nexus 7 also has 1 GB RAM, while the Kindle Fire ships with 512MB RAM.
Neither the Nexus 7 nor Kindle Fire has expandable memory and both come with only 8GB of memory. The devices also do not have 3G connectivity, a feature that Apple’s new mini iPad could sport.
The Kindle Fire doesn’t have a camera while Nexus 7 has a 1.2 megapixel front camera for video-chatting. If the new iPad mini has both, then both the Fire and Nexus 7 could be in serious trouble.
Meanwhile BusinessInsider reports that Amazon has ordered 2 million redesigned Kindle Fires for an early August release. BusinessInsider was quoting a report in China Times, and according to the report, the new Kindle Fire is said to have a metal frame with a plastic chassis.
So what are the chances of an iPad mini being launched this year?
In March a comment by a Samsung executive to a Korean newspaper fueled rumours, while in February a report in the Wall Street Journal stated that Apple was testing out products with 7 to 8 inch screens. Then in April rumours resurfaced, this time on a Chinese blog.
And after a relative lull in the iPad mini expectations, an analyst report has got the tech world buzzing all over again. The report by Pacific Crest analyst Andy Hargreaves predicts that Apple will introduce a 7.85-inch version of its tablet in October.
The report quotes Hargreaves as saying,
“We anticipate an entry-level 7.85″ iPad with 8GB of NAND capacity to price at $299 with an initial gross margin of 31%. We estimate Apple will sell 10.0 million 7.85″ iPads in FQ1 (Dec. 2012) and 35.2 million in all of F2013. Based on estimated component order volume, we believe our iPad mini unit estimates are well within Apple’s production capacity.”
Steve Jobs is famously known to have been against the idea of a smaller iPad, but now as demand for smaller tablets increase, will Apple finally bite the bullet?