iPad Mini – Hitting the Stores Later This Year?

Image via Apple Insider

In a report posted by Chinese industry website NetEase, it is said that Apple is gearing up to release 6 million units of iPad Mini in the third quarter of 2012. To be priced at either $249 or $299, the device is said to “counter attack” upcoming Windows 8 tablets. Other than Foxconn, Pegatron is also said to supply the materials for the smaller iPad.

Inside the Rumored iPad Mini

Earlier this month, Daring Fireball’s John Gruber claimed that Apple is “noodling with” ideas and prototypes for a 7.85-inch iPad. However, he’s unsure if the device will ever hit the shelves. Regardless, the smaller tablet could be a possible competitor for Amazon Kindle Fire because of its price tag. Amazon’s e-reader was released late last year for $199, and is currently taking control of the low-end tablet market.

Aside from the 7.85-inch screen, the iPad Mini is rumored to boast a 1024 x 768 resolution. This would enable the device to run applications written for the original iPad and iPad 2. In turn, developers no longer need to rewrite their apps just to make it work for a new resolution. Moreover, it is deemed that the height of iPad Mini will be the width as the new iPad.

Backtracking iPad Mini Rumors

Rumors of the iPad Mini started when Apple released the first-generation iPad on April 2010. Concord Securities analyst Ming-chi Kuo claimed that the Cupertino-based company is planning to release a smaller and cheaper version of their tablet.

The rumor made a buzz that time following the reports that Apple tested various range of screen sizes from 4 to 12 inches. Although it was conducted when the original iPad was still in the prototype phase, the amount of the orders was enough to do a small production run instead of a simple sample testing.

It resurrected after Wall Street Journal reported that company officials have been showing off designs for a smaller tablet that has a similar resolution as the iPad 2. Apple was allegedly showing suppliers some design for an 8-inch tablet to scout for potential manufacturer partner. As written by Lorraine Luk and Jessica Vascellaro:

“One person said that the smaller device will have a similar screen resolution as the iPad 2. Apple is working with screen makers including Taiwan-based AU Optronics and LG Display Co. of South Korea to supply test panels.”

However, the authors pointed out that the company might be simply testing new designs and not actually release a device. Hence, the iPad Mini rumor will remain as it is until Apple makes an official announcement.

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