It is widely speculated that Apple will launch a smaller and cheaper iPad, unofficially dubbed ‘iPad mini‘ to compete with cheaper Android-based tablets like Google’s Nexus 7 and Amazon’s Kindle Fire.
We’ve already seen several mockups, which have given us a some idea of what a smaller iPad will look like. However, folks at 9to5Mac have received information from their sources who “hold knowledge about Apple’s plans on the upcoming iPad mini”.
Here’s what they have heard:
We received a number of tips over the last few weeks from sources that we have reason to believe hold knowledge about Apple’s plans on the upcoming iPad mini. A reoccurring theme of late is that the iPad mini will “look like a big iPod touch” with smaller bezels along the sides in portrait mode and separate volume buttons and not a “rocker” and a mic on the back.
This iPod touch-like design makes a lot of sense for a number of reasons. For one, when compared to the Nexus 7 (and Kindle Fire, Galaxy Tab 7, RIM Playbook, etc.), this would give the iPad mini a similar, “purse-able,” and “big pocket-able” form factor but with a larger 4:3 display. The lack of a bezel on the sides will make it easier to hold too.
They have also created a mockup based on this info:
Rene Ritchie of iMore reports that the mockup by 9to5Mac is an accurate representation of what the iPad mini will look like.
Based on several sources, I believe that design to be an accurate representation of what the iPad mini will look like. In addition, it’s my understanding that it will be the exact same thinness as the iPod touch, which is substantially thinner than the 9.7-inch iPad. The quick mockup [below] shows what I believe are accurate proportions for the iPad mini compared to the 9.7-inch iPad and the current generation iPod touch 4.
While it is quite likely that iPad mini will come with a front-facing camera, it is not clear if it will feature a back camera. As you can see below, some iPad mini casings have a hole for the camera at the back, some don’t. It is quite possible that Apple decides to drop features like the back camera from iPad mini to make a low-end $200-ish model.
9to5Mac also speculates that Apple will offer an iPad mini model with 4G LTE capabilities.
John Gruber of Daring Fireball who has a good track record when it comes to Apple related rumors also supports claims of narrower bezel:
The iPad 3 — the whole device, not just the display — measures 241.2 × 185.7 mm. Divide and that comes out to roughly 1.3, which is very close to the aspect ratio of the iPad display (1.333…). [...]
That’s not true for the iPhone and iPod Touch. The iPhone 4S is 115.2 × 58.6 mm; divide and you get roughly 1.97 — far different proportions than the 1.5 (3:2) aspect ratio of the display. Again, just look at it.
Should not the iPad Mini fall somewhere in between?
He also calculates that iPad mini will weigh only 265 grams (iPad 3 Wi-Fi only weighs 652 grams):
So let’s estimate the Nexus 7’s volume the same way: 248,919 cubic mm. The iPad Mini, based on my best guess hunch dimensions of 200 × 135 x 7.2 mm = 193,680 cubic mm. Divide and you get 78 percent. The Nexus 7 weighs 340 grams, so, let’s guess that the iPad Mini will weigh just 265 grams.
While rumors have indicated that it will be unveiled alongside ‘iPhone 5′ at a media event on September 12th. The lack of any part leaks indicates that the production for iPad mini hasn’t ramped up yet. This means that the earliest Apple could launch iPad mini is late October or early November, just in time for the holiday season.
In our opinion, Apple will offer the entry level iPad mini for $249 or $299. This will give them an option to offer the first generation iPad mini for $199 when it launches a new iPad mini next year.