Apple to Launch 7-inch iPad With Retina Display in October For $200-$250?

Ever since Apple launched the iPad in 2010, there have been rumors that Apple will launch a smaller and cheaper version of their tablet – unofficially dubbed iPad mini.

The chatter has gotten a little louder ever since Amazon launched their Android-based tablet – Kindle Fire, which has been very successful.

Steve Jobs had famously taken a dig at Apple’s competitors for launching tablets that sport a 7-inch screen back in 2010.

Just a handful of credible entrants. Almost all use 7″ screen, compared to iPad at nearly 10″ screen. 7″ screen is only 45% as large as iPad’s screen. Hold an iPad in portrait view and draw a horizontal line halfway down. What’s left is a 7″ screen…too small. There are clear limits to how close elements can be on the screen before users can’t touch accurately. We believe 10-inch screen is minimum necessary.

The reason we won’t make a 7-inch tablet isn’t because we don’t want to hit that price point, it’s because we think the screen is too small to express the software.

We know developers aren’t going to deal well with these different sizes and they have to change their software every time the screen size changes.

When we make decisions on 7-inch tablets it’s not about cost, it’s about the value of the product when you factor in the software.

We’re all about making the best products at aggressive prices and that’s what we do, and that’s what we will do with the iPad and iPod.

However, with competition from Kindle Fire – a $199 tablet that has been doing very well, it is possible that Apple is reconsidering its decision as it would expand its market.

iMore – which has a good track record when it comes to Apple related rumors has weighed in on the smaller iPad rumors. iMore claims that according to their “reliable source”, Apple will indeed be launching a 7-inch iPad in October this year for just $200 – $250.

According to our source, which has proven reliable in the past, the reason for such aggressive pricing is to do to the tablet market what Apple did to the MP3 market in 2004 with the expansion of the iPod product line — leave absolutely no space for competitors.

We haven’t gotten a firm read on the exact screen dimensions, so we’re using 7-inches generically here. Our source has indicated, however, that the 7-inch iPad will be identical to the current 9.7-inch iPad, just scaled down. That seems to include a 2048×1536 resolution display, just like the new iPad. If accurate, that would put the pixel density at around 326 ppi, the same as the iPhone 4S (and higher than the 264 ppi new iPad) retina display. 

iMore expects the 7-inch iPad to come with an 8GB storage to keep the costs low. They note that even though the 7-inch iPad will be available for $200 – $250, it won’t be replacing iPod touch, which starts at $200. It is quite possible that Apple will slash the price of the iPod touch.

Based on the success of the 7-inch Amazon Fire, it is quite clear that there is demand for a smaller iPad and if Apple manages to offer it for $200 – $250 then it would be another killer product from Apple.

The October time frame seems to suggest that Apple could launch the 7-inch iPad along with the next generation iPhone.

What do you think about the possibility of a 7-inch iPad at a $200 – $250 price point? Will you buy one?