The new iPad has been and gone, sporting a chunkier and heavier build than the iPad 2, which left some wondering: what’s with all the extra weight?
However, it looks like Apple may be about to aid those conscious of extra grams in their bags, as rumours hot up about a potential iPad mini (or iPad nano, if you prefer) arriving later this year.
As the Amazon Kindle Fire steals the budget tablet show and with more small, cheap tablets on the horizon, such as the Google Nexus tablet, Apple may well want a bite of the, well, apple.
Back in 2010, former Apple CEO Steve Jobs said that smaller screened tablets were not “sufficient to create great tablet apps” and would be “dead on arrival”, so rumours suggesting a new iPad mini is in the works reveals a potentially new direction for the firm in its post-Jobs era.
Believe it or not, there’s certainly a lot of chat surrounding the iPad mini, so we’ve scooped it all up, mushed it all together and expelled it into a handy round up, allowing you to keep track of every twist and turn.
New iPad mini release date
There’s not even an official sign from Apple that the iPad mini/iPad nano is even in the works, so a release date for the tablet is even more up in the air.
Although if the rumours turn out to be true, we can expect Apple to start rolling out the iPad mini very soon after a extraordinarily over-hyped launch event.
According to a Digitimes source the iPad nano could start production in the third quarter of 2012.
Analyst Shaw Wu says the “exact timing” for an iPad mini release date “is difficult to predict”, but said its launch is a “question of when, not if.” Pretty confident then, are we, Shaw?
A report straight out of China suggests that key Apple manufactures Foxconn and Pegatron have started to receive orders for the new iPad mini. It goes on to say the factories will have 6 million units ready for a launch in Q3 of 2012.
Apple has announced its annual WWDC event running from June 11-15, which sold out in just two hours, and there’s a chance we could see the Cupertino firm announce the iPad mini there, possibly alongside the iPhone 5 and iOS 6 – but then again, we could also see Apple launch a new ice cream factory, such is the chances of all three of those happening.
New iPad mini price
Apple is known for its extravagant products, launch events and pricing policies, however the iPad mini may herald a new era for those who long for an Apple device, but simply can’t part with an arm and a leg to buy one.
It’s thought that Apple’s idea behind the iPad nano is to tackle the budget end of the which, where the Amazon Kindle Fire is currently king, and a Digitimes source predicts it could land with a very reasonable sub £200 ($249-$299) price tag.
New iPad mini display
As the name suggests, we’re looking at an iPad which will be sporting a screen smaller than the stock 9.7-inch display found on the first three Apple tablets.
In February we saw a report from the Wall Street Journal claiming a source from an Apple component supplier had confirmed it was testing a smaller screen for Apple, in the region of 8-inches with a similar resolution to the iPad 2.
At the start of March, Digitimes reported that the new iPad mini would actually come with a 7.85-inch display – a tad bigger than the 7-inch screen found on the Kindle Fire.
April saw Sterne Agee analyst Shaw Wu reveal that Apple had been testing devices with screens ranging from 4 to 12-inches and highlighted that the 7.85-inch format would be most likely “when, not if” the iPad mini is launched.
Wu also predicted the iPad nano would sport the same resolution as the original iPad and iPad 2, at 1,024 x 768 – meaning developers wouldn’t have to tweak their apps.
New iPad mini early verdict
Well, we’re still unsure whether Apple will go down the iPad mini route. Steve Jobs made his stance on smaller tablets quite clear and it would be a daring move by the Cupertino-firm to go against its popular former boss.
The budget tablet market is one which is definitely growing, and one which Apple is currently not part of, so it won’t be too much of a surprise if the firm does decide to go down this route.
We’d love to see a new iPad mini come to market, as it would certainly give Amazon and co a run for their money… plus it would be intriguing to see what Apple would do with the smaller format.