Apple iPad Mini debut reportedly imminent
Google may announce new versions of its Nexus 7 tablet this year. Throw Amazon into the mix and consumers will have some good choices this holiday.
Rumors have been swirling around about the alleged tablet for years. If Apple does launch a smaller iPad, the device would directly compete with the 7-inch tablets offered by Amazon (AMZN), Barnes & Noble (BKS) and Google (GOOG).
Apple watchers seem fairly confident about a launch before year's end, though the company has not confirmed this. At the end of last month, AllThingsD wrote that the iPad Mini will debut in October, according to several of its sources. The article highlighted a post from the blog Daring Fireball, which reasoned that Apple would not launch the iPad Mini at the same time as the iPhone 5 and risk diluting the impact of either device. This thinking has been picked up by many blogs and news sites, which also expect an October launch.
Below are other rumors about the iPad Mini that have surfaced as a result of postings of supposed photos and videos of the tablet. None of rumors should be taken as fact, though, as Apple has not even officially announced an iPad Mini, and the name itself has been created by the media.
Size and Appearance
The 9To5Mac site posted alleged mockups of an iPad Mini on Aug. 14, showing a device that looked like a larger iPod touch. A month later, the Chinese site Bolopad.com posted pictures of an iPad Mini that received more attention, and described a 7.85-inch screen.
GizChina.com posted a video on this month showing a dummy iPad Mini model bought for $13 on Taobao, which is known as China's eBay. The size of the model is also 7.85 inches, and it looks very similar to the image posted on Bolopad.com. The article also contains images comparing the size of the dummy model to the existing iPad and the iPhone 4.
The images from both sites show a tablet with a thinner bezel, but with the iPad's familiar black color on the front. The back has the same gray color as the iPad. But 9To5Mac points out that the images from Bolopad.com display an iPad screen with the now-defunct YouTube app.
These pictures show a camera on the tablet's reverse side and a new Lightning connector at the bottom. The dummy model also has two new volume control buttons on the side and speaker holes on the bottom.
As for the memory size, the dummy model on GizChina.com displayed itself as a 64GB model. The site also emphasizes (assuming the model is real) the iPad Mini will likely work on 3G or 4G LTE networks because the dummy models have the "the telltale black plastic strip" on the top. The 3G and 4G signals do not transmit well through metal.
Other potential features include a 3.5 mm headphone jack on the top and a mini SIM card tray.
As for the price, the numbers making their way around the Web are between $249 and $299 for a 16GB iPad Mini. This price would allow it to compete directly with low cost tablets such as Amazon's Kindle Fire HD priced at $199 and the Google's current Nexus 7 priced at $199.
Ewan Spencer of Forbes expects Apple to release a $299 entry-level iPad Mini with 16GB of storage and Wi-Fi connectivity as an option. He reached this guess based on the the specifications announced for the reworked 32GB iPod touch, which he believes "is almost a blueprint for an iOS powered tablet." Since Apple likes to have clear price brands, he projects a 32GB version will cost $399 and a 64GB versions will cost $499. In his opinion, Amazon is the only other tablet maker that can challenge Apple’s iPad in the public consciousness.
Google may challenge
Google, though, may be positioning itself to challenge Apple this holiday season. Rumors have surfaced that Google will launch two new versions of the Nexus 7 before the end of 2012. According to the DigiTimes, industry sources say the tablets will be thinner than the current Nexus 7 and will use TN panels made by Taiwan-based panel maker HannStar Display. One model will be priced at $199 and the other will be priced at $99. Google is said to be partnering with Asustek, but Asustek has denied this.
The article states that HannStar has also purportedly entered the supply chain for Apple's iPad series, but the company has not confirmed whether it will work with either Apple or Google.
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I think it would be pretty cool to have a "Magic Jack" device in the iPad and the iPads, so you can use the device as an IP phone as well as have the face time for Apple to Apple communications. To me the there is a market for people that don't want to use their devices anywhere but with free wi-fi.. Next put a blue tooth accessory for headphones and talking on that phone.
What I would be interested in is a touch screen Mac Book Air with SS drive. To have OS 10 on a large touch screen would be kind of ideal. Pair it with a wireless keyboard and mouse and add a Thunderbolt connection and moving between tablet and desktop with that kind of ease would be pretty sweet.
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