Apple has been riding high this year. They frequently flirt with being labeled the highest valued company in the US, and probably the world. Their stock price peaked around $700 a share when they made their iPhone 5 announcement back in September. It has since fallen to under $640 as of today.

Not everything is perfect for Apple though. For the long-term, despite an early victory against Samsung in their ongoing patent struggle, there’s no telling how appeals and future cases will turn out. These could hurt Apple. Recent products from Amazon and Google have put a dent in Apple’s control of the tablet market. The Kindle Fire and the Nexus 7 have been selling remarkably well. These smaller tablets fill a space where Apple’s reach is unable to touch. Their successful iPad is a 10-inch tablet, and that’s all they have to offer. But this will not be the case for much longer.

iPad Mini on the Way?

I’ve always wondered why Apple, knowing how popular 7-inch tablets like the Kindle Fire and Nexus 7 have been, insisted on sticking with their 10-inch iPad. The late Steve Jobs was adamant against creating a 7-inch tablet. He was quoted as saying “7-inch tablets are going to be DOA.” That has turned out to be absolutely not the case.

But it looks like Apple is playing catch up now. According to Poornima Gupta for Reuters, “Apple Inc is expected to make its biggest product move [today] since debuting the iPad two years ago.” If the tech geeks and Apple lovers are correct, it’s very likely we’ll be seeing Apple announce a 7-inch or 8-inch iPad Mini to add to their product offerings.

I suppose Apple finally realized that they were losing market share to the 7-inch successes from Google and Amazon. As Shane Richmond reports for the Telegraph, expect Apple to leverage their App store and brand to sell a new tablet which “isn’t that much more expensive” than its competitors. The event begins at 10 am PT today, so be sure to check the news around that time for Apple’s announcement.

Tablets are Here to Stay

I have to admit I was always someone a bit skeptical of tablets. I still don’t own one, but I know increasing numbers of people who do. While I don’t believe the PC will ever be replaced, the laptop might be on its way out. Keyboard attachments to tablets are all that’s needed to get the same usefulness out of a tablet that most people get from a laptop. With Apple adopting a smaller tablet, they’ve acknowledged that tablets are something they need to offer to all consumers in a variety of price ranges.

The Internet Cannot be Ignored

The implications of more and more people adopting tablets aren’t earth-shattering or rocket science. But it’s important to take some time to think about what greater tablet usage means in the future. If people are increasingly using tablets to access the web, find information, communicate, and everything else we might use the internet for, it’s obvious that the internet’s importance will only continue to grow. That means interaction on social platforms like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and others will also increase.

Businesses need to reach out to consumers where they are. The way it looks now is that the public is going to be on the web. Not having a plan for engaging customers in some way on the web is not a good idea. Just like Apple not selling a mini tablet is not a good idea. They get the picture, do you?

Do you think the iPad Mini will be a success? Does your business have a plan for reaching customers online?