Yes, it’s an Apple story, and yes, it’s a rumour – big surprise there – but the speculation surrounding the mini iPad continues to spread across the net.
Bloomberg and the Wall Street Journal have previously carried stories from inside sources who claim that Apple is developing a 7 to 8 inch slate, to complement its existing, hugely successful iPad.
We’ve heard all the arguments before, of course: the device is Apple’s onslaught on the budget end of the market, where the Kindle Fire has grabbed a sizeable share since its launch in the States. And Google’s Nexus 7 is also threatening to be a success story, with much positive feedback early on.
Now the New York Times has weighed in with its two cents on Apple’s potential Mini iPad, with several sources who have “knowledge of the project” claiming that a 7.85 inch device is being developed. And that it will sell for “significantly” less than the iPad’s recommended retail.
The launch is allegedly coming later this year, presumably in the autumn, although of course the iPhone 5 will also be out then. And Apple generally tries to avoid two big product launches coming too closely together.
The Times also notes in its headline that Apple “may try” such a device, and indeed, while iPad Mini prototypes may exist in the Cupertino labs now, and plans for release may be afoot, there’s no guarantee they’ll come to fruition.
But Apple is likely to want to do something about the lower end of the market, if the likes of the Kindle Fire and Nexus 7 are set to cannibalise upper strata sales. While traditionally the iPhone and iPad have been premium products, there’s no hard and fast rule which says Cupertino won’t do a budget version – at least with the slate.
Despite Steve Jobs’s famous insistence that the 7 inch tablet was too small for a decent app using experience – although to be fair, it seems Apple is pushing for 8 inches.