APPLE is set for a test of investor confidence over the next week as chief executive Tim Cook gears up to announce a new version of the iPad just two days before the company releases its annual results.
The Californian firm last week sent out invitations to a special event scheduled for tomorrow. It is expected to unveil a smaller version of the iPad, a move many analysts believe it has been forced into following the success of rival tablets from Amazon and Google. The iPad “mini” is expected to house a 7.85-inch screen – yielding an area one third smaller than the iPad’s 9.7 inches – and retail for as low as £200.
Although late boss Steve Jobs famously declared that a smaller iPad would be an unwelcome compromise, Apple is believed to have decided to produce one in the face of renewed competition.
Apple is still the dominant tablet manufacturer, but the success of smaller devices including Amazon’s Kindle Fire has seen its share of US tablet sales slip from 81 per cent last year to 52 per cent, according to Pew Research.
The firm is nevertheless expected to reveal record iPad sales for the last three months on Thursday when it reports full-year results.
However, sales of its most profitable product, the iPhone, are believed to have been weak as consumers held off to wait for the iPhone 5.
Only nine days of iPhone 5 sales will be included in Apple’s final quarter results.
A rare miss from Apple in its third-quarter results in July sent shares down four per cent. This quarter, the firm is forecast to reveal profits of $11bn (£6.9bn) on turnover of $56bn.