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Apple Sees No Threat in Kindle Fire, $200 Tablets

What do you do in the face of stiff competition? You laugh at it. You bring it down a notch by pointing out its weakest points and ignoring its strongest features. Whether it's a friend going after the same girl or a tablet with a super-awesome price tag, never let the enemy see you sweat. In this case, it's Apple CEO Tim Cook, and he claims that Amazon's Android-flavored Kindle Fire made no dent in Apple's revenue whatsoever -- even if the possibility secretly made him a little nervous.

"I looked at the data, particularly in the U.S., on a weekly basis after the Kindle Fire launch," Cook said during an earnings call of Tuesday. "I wouldn’t say that there was an obvious effect on the numbers, plus or minus."

Although Amazon hasn't provided specific numbers, the Kindle Fire itself supposedly sold around 6 million units by the end of 2011. An additional 12 million units are expected to fly across store shelves in 2012. Obviously those numbers can't be ignored, but they still pale in comparison to Apple's 15.43 million iPads sold in Q1FY12 alone. Amazon is seemingly off to a good start, but has a long way to go in catching up with Apple's success -- if it's even possible at this point.

As for the other tablets appearing on the market with a sub-iPad pricetag, Cook isn't too worried about them either. "I think people really want to do multiple things with their tablets, so we don’t see these limited-function tablets and e-readers as being in the same category as iPad," he said. "They might sell a fair number of units, but we don’t think people who want an iPad will settle for a limited-function device."

In fact, Cook believes Apple will dominate the tablet market for some time to come. "Last year was supposed to be the year of the tablet, and I think most people would agree it was the year of the iPad for the second year in a row," he added. "We’re going to continue to innovate like crazy in this area, and continue to compete with anyone that is currently shipping tablets, or that might enter in the future."

Apple is supposedly introducing a three-tier tablet portfolio this year, with the current iPad 2 residing at the bottom with a cheaper $299 pricetag. The middle and upper tiers will consist of a new model -- the iPad 3 -- but feature different cameras and different displays. Clearly Apple is wanting to address the bargain, mainstream, and high-end consumer all in one retail assault.

Meanwhile Amazon is reportedly already working on a Kindle Fire successor, addressing issues brought forth by disgruntled consumers with the current model. These issues include the lack of volume buttons, the lack of a microSD card slot, and muffled sound coming from two speakers mounted on one side. Amazon may be able to cram a few extras into the next version given that components will likely be cheaper than they were when the original Kindle Fire went into production.