Rumors of a smaller iPad has been swirling for many months now. With smaller and less expensive devices like the Kindle and the Fire making some headway in the tablet market, there’s been much speculation that Apple would make a decisive move to head off the competition and release a more affordable device.
It seems that every day, new ‘leaked’ information becomes available about the capabilities, the screen size, the connector, the aspect ratio and more. It’s hard to take them all seriously, yet these many reports are beginning to converge in their details. While this may be the effect of the Apple-obsessed media echo chamber, I think we’re finally getting close to some real information.
The market is definitely taking the existence of the ‘iPad mini’ seriously. Numerous news outlets are reporting an October release, which will be sufficiently after the release of the iPhone 5 so as not to step on that product announcement, but still far enough in advance of the critical holiday buying season to ensure enough time for consumers to acquire them. It’s likely to be a great 4Q’12 for Apple.
The news leaking from Apple’s supply chain about the technical specifications of the forthcoming iPad mini seem to indicate that the debut of this device won’t be cause problems for developers or existing iPad or iPhone apps. The display will feature 1024×768 pixels, which maintains the 4:3 aspect ratio of the display, just like all early iPhones and iPod Touches. I think Doug Drinkwater over at TabTimeshas good take the possible memory capacity of the iPad mini: Apple will likely stick on the low end, 8G or 16G and pair it with a iCloud or iTunes tie-in to mitigate the limitations of the smaller memory.
Me? I’ve already planted my flag firmly in the pro-iPad mini camp. There’s a February post, here, giving some thought to the benefits of an 8″ iPad and I think most of the comments are still valid. Smaller, more toteable, easier to pocket and lighter — all these are things I wish were different about my current iPad. Like most of the world, my prediction that the iPad mini would release in March or April has turned out to be overly-optimistic, but the advantages of a smaller tablet from Apple are clear.
I’m betting the the lower price and the smaller form will also appeal to the educational market in a strong way, allowing Apple to once again take the lead in educational IT, capture the attention of mobile-savvy and touch screen-experienced youngsters and not obliterate school budgets in the process.
I’m looking forward to October.