Last year, Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) tapped into a new market by offering the smaller, cheaper iPad mini as an alternative to its larger iPad. Now, some analysts think the company may be planning to offer an iPad mini at a price as low as $199. The new budget-priced iPad is rumored to hit stores this year.

KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo recently published a research note indicating that Apple may soon introduce the cheaper iPad mini model, according to MacRumors. Kuo, one of the most trusted Apple analysts, said the company would likely push for cheaper components to achieve the lower price point. 

“Prior to iPad mini 2 launch, Apple might roll out a more affordable iPad mini to compete with Android products,” Kuo said. “To cut costs, Apple might push for lower component prices, use a more advanced process to produce the A5 processor, simplify metal casing production, remove the rear camera, cut storage to 8GB and find more component suppliers to lower costs. We think this cheaper iPad mini retail for US$199~249.”

If the rumor is true, it should come as no surprise to Apple fans, who have already been expecting the company to release a budget-priced iPhone as well. This rumored iPhone would look similar to the iPhone 5 in many key ways, but there would be differences between them in small features, such as the design of their volume buttons, according to iLounge.

Presumably, the rumored budget-priced iPad mini would follow a similar path -- maintaining a superficial similarity to the standard iPad mini, but still allowing for small cosmetic differences to set the two apart.