Well, the chorus of reports pointing to an iPad mini continue to grow. Most recently, Kotaku relays a report from the Chinese net portal NetEase which claims that Apple will release a smaller version of the 9.7-inch iPad some time during the third quarter of 2012.
NetEase claimed that the device will be released around the third quarter of this year to “counter attack” the upcoming Windows tablets. The report further claims that the devices will cost anywhere from US$249 to $299 and that there will be an initial 6 million units ready for launch.
And just last week, if you remember, Daring Fireball’s John Gruber claimed on the Talk Show podcast that he had been informed by “numerous” people that a smaller version of the current iPad remains something Apple is toying with and considering.
When asked about the prospects of a smaller iPad hitting the market, Gruber responded:
Well, I don’t know. What I do know is that they have one in the lab…a 7.85 inch iPad that runs at 1024×768… it’s just like the 9.7″ iPad shrunk down a little bit. Apps wouldn’t need to be recompiled or redesigned to work optimally on it. It’s just the iPad smaller.
Previous reports have claimed that the iPad Mini won’t feature a Retina Display and that it will likely be priced in the $249-$299 range, which of course, is what the NetEase report claims as well.
With the iPad essentially owning the tablet market, it makes sense that Apple would now expand the line into a new size with a more agressive price point to cover all its bases and to prevent competing tablets like the Kindle Fire from gaining any real and significant foothold in the marketplace.
Lastly, a number of iPad Mini reports have all pointed to a device with a 7.85 inch screen.