Apple's forthcoming iPad Mini could take 15 per cent of sales away from the full-size iPad, according to analysts.
The new tablet is expected to be announced by Apple in California next Tuesday. Little is known about it except that it will probably have a 7.85-inch screen - slightly smaller than the current iPad's 10-inch display.
Even with this lack of information analysts are predicting that Apple will sell around five million iPad Minis before Christmas, assuming rumours of a November 2 release date are correct.
Gene Munster, an analyst with Piper Jaffray, told AllThingsD : "We believe that the smaller iPad could cannibalize one million regular iPad units in December or a rate of cannibalization at 20 percent. [So] for every five million smaller iPads, you lose one million standard iPads."
The report also quotes Bill Choi, an analyst with Janney Montgomery Scott, who believes the smaller iPad will cannibalise just 15 per cent of sales of the existing iPad.
Just as it did with its iPod range, which slowly expanded to cover a range of form factors, storage capacities and prices, Apple is likely to take the view that it is better to cannibalise its own products that to give a competitor the chance to do it.
At the moment, anyone wanting a smaller, cheaper tablet is likely to go for Google's Nexus 7, released in July, or Amazon's Kindle Fire HD, which comes to Britain next week. The iPad Mini gives Apple the opportunity to target those customers.
Earlier this week Apple sent out invites to an October 23rd event in San Jose, California . Titled "We've got a little more to show you", the invites give no hint as to what the company is set to announce. Rumours about a smaller iPad, however, have been doing the rounds for some time.
Alongside the iPad Mini, reports have suggested that Apple might unveil a 13-inch version of its 'Retina' MacBook Pro. The laptop with a very high resolution display is currently available on in 15-inch screen size.
Improvements to Apple's iMac and Mac Mini computers are also expected but it is not known whether they will be shown off at next week's event or released separately.