Despite Apple CEO Tim Cook stating earlier this week that consumers hate cheap tablets, a recent study has found that the BlackBerry PlayBook is gaining ground on Apple's iPad.

The PlayBook has been something of a disaster for BlackBerry manufacturer Research in Motion (RIM); introduced at £399 it had an iPad-equalling price but a smaller screen and poor usability. Its price was subsequently dropped to just £169, where it now appears to be selling well.

In a survey on 1,000 Canadians - and reported by The Globe and Mail - Solutions Research Group (SRG) found that the PlayBook's share of the tablet market has grown from five to 15 percent in the last quarter, while the iPad fell from 86 to 68 percent.

In Canada - where RIM is located and the survey took place - the PlayBook has seen dramatic price cuts from $500 to just $200, prompting an increase in sales as the tablet separates itself from the relatively expensive iPad 2.

On Tuesday Apple CEO Tim Cook said: ""Price is rarely the most important thing. A cheap product might sell some units. Somebody gets it home and they feel great when they pay the money, but then they get it home and use it and the joy is gone.

"The joy is gone every day that they use it until they aren't using it anymore. You don't keep remembering 'I got a good deal!' because you hate it!"

These figures come just weeks before RIM is set to release the 2.0 software update for its PlayBook, bringing a host of new features such as email and calendar applications that no longer rely on the tablet being paired over Bluetooth with a BlackBerry smartphone.

The 2.0 software update is due before the end of February and includes other features, such as being able to use a BlackBerry's keyboard to enter text on the PlayBook.

Rumours earlier this week suggest that Apple is developing a smaller - and possibly cheaper - iPad, dubbed the iPad Mini, would could be set to compete with the Kindle Fire and PlayBook in the mid-siz tablet market.

Meanwhile, the iPad 3 rumour mill continues to operate at full tilt; the latest line is that Apple will announce the new iPad on 7 March and it will feature a Retina display, quad-core A6 processor and a larger battery.