First let me begin that here is no name set for the 7″ iPad that is expected to be announced in the near future. If it follows the iPod it will be called a Nano but the “iPad Mini” and “iPad 7″ have all been tossed around as well.
The Amazon Kindle has proven that 7″ tablets have a place in the hands of consumers and between its success and the upcoming pre-order success of the Nexus 7 this is the first piece of technology that Apple is going into in years where they are actually late to the table. That being said iPad’s are still the tablet of choice and therefor should have a quick advantage on taking the throne of the 7” tablet.
According to Mashable – Gene Munster of Piper Jaffray, one of the industry’s top analysts, told attendees at the Fortune Brainstorm Tech conference in Aspen that an iPad Mini was “highly likely.”
So why is it likely? Well it basically is an easy way to expand their product line in the tablet market. While they own 90% of the 10″ market it lowers to 75% when you look at the market as a whole and that’s a lot of additional room to grow in still. He also pointed out two big reasons why he could see this not happening. The first of which would be it was the first time in a LONG time that Apple reacted to the market instead of set the market. The second of which is that it would be against the vision that the late Steve Jobs had set forward. When a company is not innovating though they do need to adapt.
What’s it going look like?
So conjecture is nice and all but The New York Times apparently has been speaking with people familiar with it and it is happening. There aren’t a lot of details but it’s going to be a 7.85-inch screen and be ‘significantly less‘ than the $499 iPad that is currently on the market. The NYT isn’t the only one who has gotten some early information though as according to Bloomberg the screen on this iPad Mini is not going to be based off the Retina display that graces the current iPad model and will most likely be of lower quality for keeping costs down.
Where it won’t be striving to keep costs down is the size. The Cult of Mac is reporting that the iPad Mini will only be 7.2mm thick. That is going to clock in as the thinnest iPad yet and one of the thinnest tablets in the world to date. For a comparison the Kindle Fire is 11.43mm and the Google Nexus 7 is 10.45mm. The same report also states that the iPad Mini will be 3G ready as well.
Of course whoever is talking to both of these clearly are giving conflicting information as according to the NYT production is going to start in September, while Bloomberg claims it’ll be happening in October.
How much is this bad boy going to cost?
The rumors are flying on this one. It looks that everyone is giving a price range (which would assume to be 2 separate hard drives sizes.)
The first is from DigiTimes which speculates that it will range from $250-$300.
That’s not the only price point mentioned though as iMore is reporting that it would fall into the $200-$250 range.
While a few have guessed that we would see 8GB of storage by the standard none of the magazines have had ‘inside information’ on what we’d be seeing for storage or processors on this and Engadget believes they will run on a dual-core A5X SoC. This would help keep speeds up and is a good educated guess, but there’s no solid evidence pointing in this direction quite yet. Whatever powers it I’m sure we’ll hear that Foxconn will begin making the device for Apple.
While the NYT’s and Bloomberg’s sources disagree on the release date – both claim it’ll be out this year. There still has been no official news from Apple’s HQ in Cupertino though they are famously known for not announcing a product until release or right before it.