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The 7-inch iPad may not be the value product we think it is

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Apple spent its entire media event Wednesday showing off the iPhone 5, the fifth generation iPod Touch, the iPod Nano and updated software for iOS and iTunes. We didn’t hear a peep about the fabled 7-inch iPad, so it’s fair to assume that’s being saved for a later event. However, I’m not so sure it will be the Nexus 7 destroyer many have made it out to be (assuming it’s real).

Here’s the problem. The 7-inch iPad is believed to be a more budget-friendly version of the full sized iPad. It’s supposed to swoop in a completely take over what little market share other tablet manufacturers have left by becoming a champion of the 7-inch tablet market. While that could still happen, it doesn’t appear like the tablet will come cheap.

Today’s pricing announcement of the iPod Touch was a little shocking. It will be priced starting at $299. That’s a full $100 more expensive than the cheapest Nexus 7 and Kindle Fire HD. If we were to see a smaller iPad, there’s no way it would be sold cheaper than an iPod Touch. It just doesn’t make sense.

There’s a chance Apple won’t even announce a 7-inch iPad until 2013. By then, the iPod Touch could get a price drop and the difference in price won’t be so obvious. There’s also a chance Apple will give the smaller iPad older components that will be cheaper by next year. Even if that happens, is the price going to lower than $299 when the iPod Touch is at that price point now? What about the more expensive iPod Touch models? The price for the smaller iPad can’t get much higher than $299 because it will start to encroach on the previous generation’s full sized iPad.

I’m thoroughly baffled at this point. Maybe the iPad mini is as real as the Apple television. At this point, the numbers are not adding up.

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