DigiTimes, a publication name which – due to several highly inaccurate speculative rumors – translates in modern day English to “when hell freezes over.” The site now spins the “iPad Mini” rumor wheel once more, predicting a 7.85″ iPad release for the third quarter of this year.
Makers in Apple’s iPad supply chain have started delivering samples of 7.85-inch iPads for verification, with volume production likely to begin in the third quarter of 2012 at the earliest, according to industry sources.
The price of the 7.85-inch iPad is likely to be set at US$249-299, since Apple is also expected to release an 8GB iPad 2 for US$349-399, and has lowered the price of the 16GB iPad 2 to US$449, the sources noted.
I’m happy for them to be right, there are some consumers who may find use for a smaller iPad. That being said, I’ve never heard anyone with an iPad complain that it’s too big. After all, it’s supposed to be a netbook killer, not a pocketable tablet. There are a few reasons why I think Apple won’t be announcing a smaller iPad in Q3.
1. Timing is off.
I mean, way off. It’s rumored that Apple will be launching the iPhone 5 in September/October time. The smartphone is by far Cupertino’s most important and popular device. There’s no way Apple can ramp up production for a new iPhone and iPad simultaneously. Even if the iPhone slips back to a summer launch, likelihood is that it’ll be so popular that they’ll still be catching up with demand in Q3, as well as launching it internationally.
2. Competition, shmompetition.
In the entire time I’ve been following Apple, I’ve never known the company to react to competition in a panicky – copycat fashion. Sure, they have similar features to others in the OS department, but the team never rushes in to a product launch. Amazon’s Kindle Fire may well be selling like hot cakes, but don’t for one instance believe it’s because it’s an awesome iPad alternative. At $199 it’s too cheap to resist. No one was interested in the TouchPad or PlayBook until they dropped in price. The iPad remains number 1, despite costing more. There’s nothing to panic over. Apple’s mindset: Customers will be unhappy with Kindle Fire after a while, and be willing to hop over to a more costly iPad eventually. Let’s face it, if the Fire was a serious threat, Apple’s legal team would be all over it looking for patent infringements.
3. Mini what?
iPhone Nano – the longest rumored Apple device that has yet to make it to market. iPad won’t be miniaturized, just to sell more products. If we know anything about Cupertino’s design ethos, product quality and design comes first, sales come second. Theory is, if you make one tablet, or one phone that’s awesome, they will sell. Simply cornering the market with different styles isn’t Apple style. Sure, the iPod range is different. Apple cornered the music market with iTunes, and was virtually forced to offer different media player alternatives so that consumers could get in on the ecosystem. iPhones and iPads are different. They’d rather sell the old one at a cheaper price point than design a mini one.