This fall, Microsoft and Google are set to release revolutionary new tablet PC devices which are expected to make a significant impact on the growing market.  The Nexus 7 from Google and Microsoft’s Surface both look to be promising new offerings, but recent rumors of a new iPad may indicate an even more impressive tablet is on the way.

The Big Three
Sources such as Bloomberg, the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times have all reported that Apple is set to release a new, 7.85-inch iPad later this year at a lower price point than the current iPad’s $499.  Despite the late Steve Jobs’ apparent opposition to a “smaller” Apple tablet, consumers seem to be favoring the devices for their increasingly improving resolution and lower cost.  While Google and Microsoft have publicly announced their plans to capitalize on this trend at their recent developer conferences, Apple has remained relatively quiet about their new tablet.

In fact, very little is known about the new iPad thus far.  The New York Times has revealed the suspected dimensions and price point of the tablet, but many other features are still speculative, at best.  While a retina display and iOS 6 functionality are expected to be standard equipment on the new iPad, only time will tell what Apple actually has in store.

Effects on Mobile Search, Social Media & E-Commerce
The upcoming face-off between Google, Microsoft and Apple in the entry-level tablet PC market is undoubtedly going to have a substantial effect on the mobile Web.  The reduced cost of these new tablets makes them more accessible to the tech-savvy (and cost-conscious) youth demographic.  This will almost certainly lead to a rise in social media and search engine usage via mobile browsers and apps.  Additionally, another rise in E-Commerce revenue similar to last holiday season’s online sales boom is anticipated following the release of the three new tablet devices.

What Online Businesses Should Expect
Once the new tablets debut in the final quarter of 2012, online businesses should expect to see an increase in mobile traffic.  Internet marketing efforts should include a heavy emphasis on social media and mobile E-Commerce platform optimization.  If online marketers remember 2012 as “The Year of the Penguin”, 2013 may very well be remembered as “The Year of the Tablet.”