Tech giants Apple like to keep us on our toes, and one of the simplest ways to do this is to launch a miniaturized version of an existing product. Small is beautiful, small is convenient and, above all, small sells.
That’s why the recent rumors of a smaller version of the iPad tablet device – handily titled the iPad Mini – have come as no surprise to many. After all, this sort of stunt has been pulled by numerous tech companies over the years; Apple themselves did the same thing with the iPod Mini and Nano.
It’s easy for rumors to get going, but the evidence all points to this being correct. Apple are still undeniably the dominant force in the tablet world, but major gains by competitors such as Google Android will have the Cupertino company’s execs wobbling on their pedestal. The fact that these gains are being made in the 7-inch tablet market – an area that Apple have largely ignored up to now – will concern the precariously positioned execs even further.
So, it looks likely that Apple will wade in to the market with a similarly sized tablet of their own, just to put devices like the Google Nexus back in their respective places. A September release had been mooted for the product – albeit, not by anyone reliable close to Apple – but as we stumble into the second week of July with no formal announcement, this looks somewhat unlikely.
Bloggers in Japan – citing anonymous but apparently reliable sources – have gone so far as to release leaked information relating to the dimensions of the miniature tablet; Macotakara, the Japanese language tech site, announced that the iPad Mini would be “almost as thin as the fourth generation iPod Touch”.
For those who don’t have a ruler and an iPod Touch to hand, this is only 7.2mm thick; extremely thin for a tablet.
The site also claimed to have reliable information on the length and width of the new tablet, describing the length as “around 7” and the width as “a little bit bigger” than that of the Google Nexus. It’s difficult to get too excited about such vague statements, however, the site’s predictions about the look and stylistic touches where a little more interesting.
“It won’t be like a slimmed down iPad,” claimed the author, evidently with enough confidence in their unnamed Chinese sources to speak definitely, “it will have an iPod Nano-like (3rd generation) design. The look is pretty different.”
This sort of direction could be an interesting one for Apple and would represent a degree of self-assurance we have come to expect from the company. Rather than wheeling out a cynically shrunken version of the current iPad, the iPad Mini could be a competitive addition to the Apple canon in its own right.
With so much conjecture and rumor doing the rounds at the moment, it’s difficult to tell what is likely, unlikely and just plain made up. One thing is for certain, though; we’ll be keeping our ear to the ground for more info on the enigmatic little device in the coming months.
Rob Pell is a technology enthusiast, all round geek and happy employee of Simplifydigital, the UK broadband, digital TV and home phone experts. Simplifydigital are accredited by Ofcom and provide independent consumer advice on digital services.