Ahoy there, fellow sailors on the good ship “Apple Watcher”. Want to hear about all the waves of speculation regarding the iPad Mini, with all the rumours, past and present, wrapped up in one neat, torpedo-shaped story?
Then hoist your mainsail as we set… erm, sorry, we can’t quite keep the nautical thing up. We’ve run out of steam. Or perhaps wind. Just make up your own follow-on to the introductory sentence including the following words: “Anchor”, “hearties”, “boom”, “tacking”, “ahoy”, “parrot”, “Cupertino”, “port”, “pieces of eight” and “ICEBERG!”
Anyway, where we were? Oh yes, the iPad Mini. Rumours. Right, here’s where we’ve got up to… hold onto your hats:
First and foremost, the name. It was confirmed this week that the device will indeed be called the iPad Mini by a Japanese blog site, Macotakara (via Mac Rumours).
Of course, we say it’s “confirmed”, but this remains speculation about a product Apple still hasn’t officially announced yet.
The iPad Mini will be a 7.85 inch tablet, that seems pretty much crystal clear. Steve Jobs famously rubbished the idea of the 7 inch tablet, it being too small for a proper “app experience”, so Cupertino can at least point to the fact that this is an 8 inch slate (almost) and a little bigger than its budget rivals.
As for the display’s resolution, some rumours point to an XGA (1024 x 768) resolution – others are talking about a retina quality screen.
Price is a big issue, of course. This is Apple’s attack on the lower end of the market, aimed at the Nexus 7 and Kindle Fire (the latter may come out in the UK eventually). So we’d expect the price to be pitched between the £200 to £250 mark. It can’t be higher than that without starting to come uncomfortably close to the full sized iPad 2, which you can now pick up for £329 brand new. Less if you’re willing to take a refurb.
Of course, Apple tends to want big margins on its product, so a super-budget price isn’t too likely… but you never know. The Nexus 7 being £159 has certainly set the bar very low.
Apparently production has already begun on the iPad Mini, according to several sources including big names such as the Wall Street Journal and Digitimes, the latter of which claimed production is really going to be ramped up as of next week.
As far as internal storage is concerned, the basic iPad Mini is likely to have 8GB on board, as with the Nexus 7, purely to keep those costs down. This is also why we’re thinking retina quality probably isn’t too likely for the display resolution, too.
Leaked photos have also pointed to the fact that the iPad Mini won’t have a camera on board. That makes sense from a manufacturing cost point of view, also.
Rumour does have it, however, that there will be a 3G version. That would obviously be priced a little higher than the Wi-Fi flavour, as the base model is bound to be Wi-Fi only, again for cost reasons.
Another piece of speculation from the Macotakara blog is that the device will be 7.2mm thick, or thin, rather. That’s pretty thin indeed, and considerably less than the full-fat iPad’s 9.4mm girth. We’d take that one with a pinch of the white stuff, though, as we do wonder if Cupertino will make it quite that thin.
Then again, if there’s less hardware inside – such as no camera – it’s possible the slate could be slimmed down to a super-svelte affair.
The final piece of speculation which has emerged recently is about the release date. It would seem that with September being the iPhone 5 launch month, October is the time for the iPad Mini unveiling, according to the buzz from All Things D. That sounds about right to us.
We’ve said for a long time that it makes no sense for Apple to release both a new iPhone and iPad in the same month, and risk having their major products muddy each other’s hype (and maybe even worse, sales figures).
In fact, we still find it a little difficult to believe that they’ll launch both devices in back-to-back months. But we guess that Apple would rather not wait until next spring before it starts to claw at the Nexus 7′s growing market share.
All will be revealed soon enough. Are you interested in a smaller iPad? Let us know in the comments section below.