Though invitations haven’t been sent out yet, it’s largely believed that Apple’s special iPad Mini event will take place on Tuesday, October 23. In light of that, The Next Web is reporting that the event will have a strong focus on iBooks. Which, of course, shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise given that the device is meant to compete against smaller products like the Kindle Fire.
iBooks has been a success for Apple so far, but they’re not going to pull up now. If I was a betting man, I’d count on Apple also announcing iBooks 3, with expanded support for annotations and other tricks in order to keep apace with Amazon’s Kindle x-Ray feature and maybe even multi-mode support for audio and text-book syncing. Also look for an iBooks Author update that refines Apple’s authoring tool with support for the new mini and the iPhone 5′s new screen format.
While Steve Jobs famously said that smaller sized tablets would be dead on arrival, the marketplace has clearly indicated otherwise.
Remember that Jobs in 2010 remarked, “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. As a software driven company we think about the software strategies first.”
But interestingly enough, it was revealed during Apple’s legal battle with Samsung this past Summer that Jobs had finally come around to the idea of releasing a smaller version of the 9.7-inch iPad.
In an email dated January 24, 2011 and introduced at trial, Apple executive Eddy Cue wrote:
Having used a Samsung Galaxy, I tend to agree with many of the comments below (except actually moving off the iPad). I believe there will be a 7-inch market and we should do one. I expressed this to Steve several times since Thanksgiving and he seemed very receptive the last time. I found email, books, facebook and video very compelling on a 7-inch. Web browsing is definitely the weakest point, but still usable.
Apple’s new iPad Mini will likely be thinner than the current iPad 3 and will feature a 7.85 inch screen, albeit without a Retina Display as Apple most likely wants to keep costs as low as possible. It’s also been rumored that the iPad Mini will be a wi-fi only device.