Apple will rely the unveiling of its upcoming “iPad Mini” at an October event, according to a new report from AllThingsD.
For weeks, the blogosphere has chewed over rumors of a smaller iPad. Much of that speculation has centered on the idea that Apple will announce the mini-tablet alongside the next-generation iPhone, possibly at a September event. But as noted by AllThingsD and Daring Fireball’s John Gruber, separating a new iPhone launch from that of a new iPad would give Apple two opportunities to dominate the tech-news cycle—and give each device a proper spotlight.
AllThingsD, drawing on information from the ever-popular unnamed sources, suggested that the iPad Mini would have a screen size of less than eight inches. That parallels earlier reports from The Wall Street Journal and The New York Times, both of which predicted a smaller, cheaper Apple tablet would hit store shelves before the end of 2012.
Apple, which keeps tight-lipped about its future plans, has given no indication it intends to release a shrunken iPad. Indeed, then-CEO Steve Jobs infamously appeared on an October 2010 earnings call to denigrate the 7-inch tablet form-factor as inferior to the 9.7-inch iPad.
“We think it’s too small,” he told reporters and analysts on that call. “As a software-driven company, we think about software strategies first, and we know that software developers aren’t going to deal well with all these different-sized products.”
That’s not to say Jobs was incapable of changing his mind. In the months before his death in October 2011, he may have come around to the idea of a smaller tablet. The recent success of Amazon’s Kindle Fire and Amazon’s Nexus 7—both of which boast 7-inch screens—may have only increased Apple’s determination to bulldozer its way into that segment of the tablet market.
In addition to a galaxy of touch-screen devices running Google Android (pun definitely intended), the iPad will face Microsoft’s Windows 8, which is slated to appear on a variety of tablets this fall. That multifaceted competition could be driving Apple to widen its competitive stance with new products.
Rumors suggest Apple may also increase the screen size of the next-generation iPhone, which would hint that the company has settled on a strategy for porting apps onto a variety of different-sized products.
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