The soon-to-arrive iPad Mini will have villagers chasing after it, waving torches and pitchforks, if the latest speculation is to be believed.
Because the iPad Mini will apparently be a Frankenstein slate, cobbled together from bits of various Apple devices, older and newer.
This rumour has come about thanks to Marco Arment (via Wired), the developer of the Instapaper app, who discovered some curious snippets of text in Instapaper’s device stats. Namely, entries for the iPad 2,5 and iPad 2,6.
Previously, the iPad 2,1, 2,2 and 2,3 were the originally released iPad 2 models in the US, with the iPad 2,4 being the cheaper iPad 2 which was pushed out as a budget alternative when the iPad 3 launched earlier this year.
While these could, potentially, be further new versions of the newer iPad 2 model (supporting GSM and CDMA) – or indeed they could have been faked by a “jailbreaker” – they could also refer to the iPad Mini, assuming it has been built on the innards of the iPad 2.
That would mean the iPad Mini would, effectively, be an iPad 2, with the same CPU and amount of RAM, but Arment speculates that it would switch in a larger-cut 3GS screen (a 7.85 inch affair, as we know), and a smaller case and battery, trimming iPad 2 costs even further for the budget end of the market.
He also speculates that it will utilise the new iPhone’s low-power LTE chip.
Arment notes: “It’s a textbook Tim Cook supply-chain move: selling the last generation’s hardware at a lower price point to expand marketshare.”
“This is all speculation, of course, but I’m convinced: like the leaked Dock connector, this move is so ingenious that it’s most likely to be what Apple has really done.”
He concludes: “I bet they could sell that for $249, and that would be a steal.”
And if that translates to £199 over here, it’ll certainly be competitive enough to lock horns with the Nexus 7 – but with the Apple brand behind it, slate market share could then swing even further back to Cupertino.
It all sounds very believable, but this is a… well, we wouldn’t use the word “wild” rumour, but it’s certainly not a well-trimmed one.
The iPad Mini is expected to be unveiled in October.