3 reasons why Apple should be worried about its new iPad range

Yesterdays 'accidentally' leaked screenshots of the new iPad Air 2 and iPad mini 3, which just happened to nicely coincide with Google's Nexus 6 release, gave us an early glimpse of what we're likely to expect ahead of the official launch this evening.

Putting the media circus that usually accompanies every Apple event aside, how do we really think the products will fare when they are released into the wild? Here's three reasons why Apple may have cause for concern.

Price

Apple is known for its consistent pricing policy, with new products generally costing the same as the previous year's model. High-end prices are usually no problem as Apple devices are seen by many as being luxury products, but this may not hold true for the Air 2 and mini 3.

The iPad Air is expected to cost £399 for the 16GB version, £479 for 32GB, £559 for 64GB and £639 for 128GB. For me, this seems like an awful lot of money for something that isn't drastically different from its predecessor and doesn't represent good value for money.

Budget tablets have been gaining traction for some time now, especially in developing markets, and it wouldn't be surprising to see this trend continue and even grow further, which would be bad news for the Apple hierarchy.

Same old design

As the leaked images show, the designs of both the Air 2 and the mini 3 will be virtually identical to their predecessors. I don't know about anyone else, but I was hoping for something a bit different.

Aside from just getting a bit bored with the design, it feels like Apple may have made an error by not doing something more adventurous. With the recent decline of tablet sales, this was the perfect opportunity for Apple to be extra innovative with their design to try and rejuvenate the market.

A gold version of the Air 2 will supposedly be available but, apart from that, there are no other design features that make the new devices stand out from their predecessors. If you love the old design then this won't be a problem, but personally, I would have loved to have seen something a bit different.

Tablet sales are down

Now may not turn out to be the best time for Apple to be re-entering the tablet market, as reports have shown that worldwide tablet sales are on the decline. Gartner recently released figures showing that tablet sales will only see an 11 per cent growth in 2014, compared to 55 per cent in 2013.

More damning figures have shown that there has been a 10 per cent year-on-year decline of tablet sales across Western Europe. According to figures published by Context, iPads specifically have shown year-on-year declines of 2.9 per cent for 9.7inch tablets and 22.6 per cent for 7.9inch devices.