How Confident is Apple of the iPad Mini?

Apple’s (NASDAQ:AAPL) component suppliers in Asia have reportedly received orders to build more than 10 million iPad Mini units for the fourth quarter of the year, though the company has not publicly spoken about its plans for the rumored device yet. According to The Wall Street Journal, suppliers said that number was roughly double the order placed for Amazon’s (NASDAQ:AMZN) Kindle Fire tablets in the same quarter.

Earlier this month, The WSJ had reported that component suppliers had begun production of the tablet, expected to sport a 7.85-inch screen and cost much less than the standard iPad. The company has been rumored to be preparing a launch event for later this month.

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The size of the order suggests Apple is confident of the demand for the device, despite several new rival products launching this year. Amazon’s new seven-inch Kindle Fire HD and Google’s (NASDAQ:GOOG) similarly sized Nexus 7, which sell for $199, are expected to be serious challengers to Apple’s tablet dominance.

In the second quarter, Apple had a 69.6 percent share of the global tablet market, with Samsung placing a very distant second at 9.2 percent. However, the iPad’s share was nearly 84 percent in 2010, proving that rivals are slowly chipping at it. A lower-priced device will help Apple keep up with the growth.

“It makes sense for market leader Apple to extend its dominance in tablets with a smaller tablet,” Capital Securities analyst Diana Wu told The WSJ.

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