For many months now, the rumors and whisperings have been building as to the purported existence of a smaller version of the iPad. In fact, as a tech journalist, I've been discussing the importance of Apple releasing a smaller format iPad ever since the iPad was initially released years ago! Even though Steve Jobs clearly stated that he wasn't keen on a smaller iPad, not only had he been known to change his mind, but a smaller format iPad just makes sense, just like a larger iPhone just makes sense. Further more, and with all due respect, Mr. Jobs is dead, and he left the company in what he deemed were capable hands, and these capable hands can direct the course of Apple in ways that they see best.
So, keeping in mind that Apple has yet to confirm an official name for the rumored iPad mini, or if in fact there even is an iPad mini about to be released, and if there actually is an iPad mini in the works, if that announcement will come on September 12th (which is the date current rumors have pegged for the announcement of the new iPhone), keeping all that in mind, here's a round up of what information we have so far. Please note, if I’ve included the rumor in here it's only if the rumor is being floated around by multiple reliable sources. That said, a rumor is a rumor and can't be taken to the bank, so only time will tell...
The iPad mini is a very exciting development. Not only will it be able to go head to head with the successful smaller tablets on the market, like Amazon’s Kindle Fire and Google’s Nexus, but it will be an answer to what many Apple loyalists are looking for; that being a smaller, more compact, lighter weight and highly portable iPad.
It looks like the new iPad mini will feature a 7.85 inch diagonal screen measurement making it almost 40% larger than the 7 inch tablets currently on the market, and 50% smaller than the current iPad, with a screen area of 30 square inches, verses the 22 square inches of 7 inch tablets and the 45 square inches of the current iPad.
Having a 7.85 inch screen would allow the iPad mini to maintain the same aspect ratio (4:3) as the current iPad with a screen resolution of 1024 x 768 pixels. Keeping the screen aspect ratio the same would obviously be a big plus if you are an app developer.
The thickness of this new iPad is rumored to be right around 7.3 millimeters (verses the current iPad which measures in at 9.3 millimeters thick) which, to give you a sense of what that looks like, picture an iPad with the same thickness as an iPod touch, which measures only 7.2 millimeters thick.
I'm also hearing whispers that the iPad mini will have an IGZO LCD display manufactured by Sharp, which is more energy efficient than other displays, as well as, quite likely, the new, much smaller dock connector format.
The new iPad mini will run iOS 6, and I have to assume that at this point in the game, that would include Siri functionality, something no other iPad has featured thus far. iOS 6 is a huge leap forward from iOS 5 and that alone will be exciting to behold on any device, much less a brand new iPad mini.
As far as what kind, if any camera will be included with the iPad mini, that’s hard to say. I've seen supposed prototypes that have no camera, as was the case with the original iPad model, while other rumors claim it will certainly have to include a built in front and rear camera. Personally, I think Apple really should include a camera or two in the iPad mini. You know if they don’t do so in the first iteration of the iPad mini, they would add a camera(s) within a year, with the next iPad mini version, and to me that's taking “planned obsolescence” a little bit too far!
With the holidays right around the corner and competition hot from the manufactures of smaller tablets, I suspect the iPad mini will be priced to sell. I would expect to see the iPad mini debut in the $250-$300 price range for an entry-level device. Let's say, for conversation’s sake that the iPad mini starts at $250.00. That would fit with Apple’s price structuring, with entry level units of the mini selling for $250.00, the iPad 2 going for $400.00 and the “new” iPad (current generation) costing $500.00. As always, with Apple products, if you can manage to wait, and hold out for 5 or 6 months, whatever new iDevice you are looking for will become available in the Apple store's online refurbished section for considerably less than new retail!
Will the iPad mini be available with 3G or 4G LTE capabilities? Will it be available with retina display or will it have a more standard, yet high definition display like the iPad 2? Will it have one camera, two cameras or no cameras? What will its official release name be? All great questions, and all questions that again, ultimately, only time will tell. And of course, the biggest question: while its almost assured that somewhere behind locked doors in Cupertino, California, there are iPad mini samples floating about, does that necessarily mean we consumers will we be seeing this device become available this year?
I do know this: I for one plan to be first in line if Apple decides to go ahead and release the iPad mini next month. If they do, then I will be reporting back to you on it a.s.a.p! Thank you for reading and do stay tuned!