There’s an interesting theory in a piece recently written on Slashgear, where the author speculates that the iPad Mini may be available for free. He uses the iPhone 3GS as an example, that was made available for free at some point when the iPhone 4S came and now the iPhone 4 is free, since the iPhone 5 is here. Now, the theory of the Slashgear editor is that the iPad Mini will be free from the start, to skip steps.
I’m obviously talking about availability on contract, since Apple is not ready to sell stuff at loss. I would imagine the iPad 2 going for free now, but not the iPad Mini. I can see a future where tablets may be free, but with some incredibly costly service attached, something like “paid Facebook” or some Apple social networking service. A free tablet would be desperate from Apple and they’re far from desperate now. Even if their product is pricier than the Nexus 7, it will still sell well, since the Apple army is always in motion.
On the other hand, the iPad Mini with a 2 year contract, available for free would make sense, but not right now. I think that there’s always room for one more $300 or $200 tablet, seeing how the new model will be available with some cool design and never before seen feature, that Apple will advertise to the moon and back. They do not need the freebies… they just don’t!