Everything we know so far about the possibility of a smaller Apple tablet
Since the release of the original iPad back in 2010, speculation that Apple would release a smaller version of the tablet has continued to grow. While rumors of an imminent launch for an iPad mini have been around for years — kept alive mainly by financial analysts — the details surrounding the proposed device have changed. Here's what we know so far.
One of the few consistent rumors about the proposed iPad mini is its size. Since the rumblings began and after several reports, most insiders are in agreement that the size of a potential iPad mini would be 7.85 inches. Odd size, you say? Sure, but after using the similarly sized Galaxy Tab 7.7, it may be the perfect size for a smaller tablet.
Rumors had the iPad mini coming with the same 1024 x 768 screen that the original iPad and iPad 2 came with, but those details were reported before the new iPad was released with a resolution of 2048 x 1536, double that of previous versions. It's unknown if Apple would bump a potential iPad mini to the higher resolution or stick with the lower resolution screen to keep the price down.
The main reason that Apple would even consider releasing a smaller iPad would be to combat the growing sales of a device like the Kindle Fire, which dominates the non-iPad tablet market. With the Fire priced at $199, you can expect the proposed iPad mini to be near (or at least closer to) that price point. Most of the analysts and developers I have spoken with believe that an iPad mini would come in at $299.
Is a mini really coming?
Whether or not the mini is actually in the works is debatable. Next to an Apple television, this is the most persistent Apple rumor that hasn't come to fruition in the slightest. The reasoning behind the rumor — and why it has come back to life stronger than ever over the past few months — is the belief that there is a substantial burgeoning market for smaller tablets, but that may not be the case. Currently, there are only two small tablets that have actually made a mark: the Kindle Fire and, to a lesser extent, Barnes & Noble's Nook.
With smaller tablets occupying a minor portion of the overall tablet market and the iPad 2 still doing remarkable numbers, the main reason Apple would release an iPad mini is moot at the moment. The market can change quickly, however, and this may not be the case in a few months.
But remember, Steve Jobs wasn't too fond of smaller tablets. Back in 2010 during an earnings call, Jobs said, "There are clear limits of how close you can place physical elements on a touchscreen before users cannot reliably tap, flick, or pinch them. This is one of the key reasons we think the 10-inch screen size is the minimum size required to create great tablet apps... The 7-inch tablets are 'tweeners. Too big to compete with a smartphone; too small to compete with an iPad."
[Image credit: Curtis Taylor]
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