Apple may be on the verge of unveiling the long-awaited iPad Mini – the smaller tablet PC Steve Job effectively ruled out of Apple’s future quite some time ago. Even with talk of an all-new iPad Air and a stunning 13-inch Retina MacBook Pro on the cards, talk of the technology town this week will be focused squarely on Apple’s fabled mini-tab.
Exactly what Apple has planned for the world at tomorrow’s press event remains unknown, at least in an official capacity. However, with an invite teasers stating that the company has “A Little More” to show the world, it can be concluded beyond reasonable doubt that new hardware is on the way, rather than a simple speech on sales, profits and so on and so forth.
Right at the top of the list of expectations is of course the iPad Mini, which most have already come to accept as a given. Apple’s first entry into the smaller-tablet marketplace is rumored to be coming in the form of a device half way between the iPod Touch and the standard iPad, with a screen-size measuring in at 7.85-inches.
At present, the vast majority of smaller tablets populating the marketplace have been likened more to stretched out media players than genuine full-function tablets of a smaller size, which in turn could make the iPad Mini something of a mold-breaker. In any case, the Google Nexus 7 and Amazon’s Kindle Fire have been selling in massive numbers, if none significant enough to pose a real threat to the standard iPad.
Ever since the idea of 7-inch tablets was first floated years ago, the consumer public has responded extremely favorably to the idea of full-functionality coupled with affordability and portability. However, Apple’s co-founder the late Steve Jobs publically threw cold water on the very notion of Apple ever releasing a smaller tablet, stating that they would only be practical if buyers were to sharpen their fingers before using one.
Take a step or two forward to today however and the smaller tablet market place has become one of the most exciting and potentially lucrative in the consumer tech world – one that Apple will most likely have no intention of passing up.
As tomorrow’s press event draws ever-closer, further details are beginning to leak from Apple’s supply chain and third-party retail partners, apparently detailing the iPad Mini in terms of its specs, features and price-tags in accordance with storage and connectivity options. According to a number of separate reports, the iPad Mini will launch with a base-price of $329 for the cheapest Wi-fi only model with 8GB of storage and range up to $659 for those choosing cellular connectivity and 64GB storage.
Original estimates had pegged the iPad Mini for a $199 or $249 entry-level price, though it has since come to pass that component and material costs alone are rumored to total up to $195 per unit.
The only question that remains is that of how the consumer will respond to a product that in terms of both price and features overlaps the standard iPad, the 2012 iPod Touch range and the iPhone 5 – all of which continue to sell in truly epic numbers.