Apple’s iPad Mini Set for Pre-Christmas Release.
An Apple insider has revealed that the company’s smaller tablet, the iPad Mini or iPad Air, will be unveiled at an event later this month. Speaking to Reuters news agency, the source said that the company would be holding an event to reveal the new device on Tuesday October 26th.
According to Reuters, the date has been strategically planned: it falls just three days before Microsoft unveils both Windows 8 and the new Surface tablet.
The news comes shortly after Forbes quoted a major Apple investor also saying that October was the month the Mini would be revealed. Apple itself has refused to comment on any of the leaks and hasn’t actually ever acknowledge existence of the device.
In fact, Steve Jobs famously laughed off suggestions that tablets should have small screens. He said that such tablets would need to be accompanied by sandpaper for uses to file down their fingers so they were small enough to use the screen properly.
However, recent leaks and an email from Jobs himself, revealed in the Apple-Samsung patent case, implied that he might have changed his mind since making the comment. Indeed, not having a smaller, cheaper version of the iPad has actually left a gap in Apple’s market offerings.
Since the start of the tablet boom, both Amazon and Google have released smaller and more affordable devices in the form of the Kindle Fire HD and the Nexus 7. With 7-inch screens and retailing at $200, both are smaller and considerably less expensive than Apple’s trailblazing iPad.
The rumor-mill is in full swing regarding Apple’s newest product, with sources suggesting that the screen will be 7.85 inches and the device will be priced somewhere between $250-$300. Leaked information also suggests the Mini will be encased in carbon-fibre plastic, and that it will come with wi-fi and 3G capabilities.
Whether or not any such tablet would be a hit, however, remains to be seen. Mashable reported that a recent poll by TechBargains, a deal aggregation site, revealed that only 18% of those surveyed would be willing to buy an iPad mini. 32% were still undecided.
Facing more competition than ever, especially with the likes of the Kindle Fire, which combines e-reader and tablet functionality, it seems that any mini-tablet Apple released in time for Christmas could meet a luke-warm reception.
“Given Apple’s recent success, it would be easy to assume that all new Apple products will be wildly popular,” said Yung Trang, president and editor-in-chief of TechBargains.com. “Our survey results indicate that theory is no longer the case. According to our survey respondents, the so-called iPad Mini will not be highly coveted because consumers are questioning the necessity of a smaller iPad, especially if they own an iPad or an iPhone.”
Even though Apple haven’t even confirmed the product’s existence yet, let alone its specifications and features, media outlets are buzzing with the latest news. Rumors around iPhone 5 specs earlier this year turned out to be accurate, so watch this space for more news soon.