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To iPad Mini or not to iPad Mini? Rumors of Release Date Jump

To iPad Mini or not to iPad Mini? Rumors of Release Date Jump

By: Corey Tate
Follow me: Google+ | Twitter | LinkedIn
April 22, 2012
To iPad Mini or not to iPad Mini seems to be the big question right now. There’s lots of talk recently about Apple creating a smaller sized tablet, one that’s better suited for on the go. The rumors are running on whether an iPad Mini release date will be declared for 2012, whether there’s a need for one, and whether Apple is even testing out the iPad Mini (obviously a *working title* since Apple can throw curveballs like iPhone 5 was actually iPhone 4s and iPad 3 was just iPad).

NetEase has driven a lot of this week’s rumors, saying (through translation) that Taiwan media reports talk of how the iPad Mini production has been set up and is ready to go,  six million iPad Mini tablets are due for release on an undetermined release date this Fall. Theories on the iPad Mini price right now are roughly $249 - $300 right now. Is it true? Depends on who you ask.

Some believe that it just ain’t happening, like Michael Oh, who told eWeek that “the space in that sub-$300 tablet sector is really crowded, or it will be very soon.” Michael is president of Apple retail and care specialist TechSuperpowers. AppleInsider said that analyst Shaw Wu puts the idea of an iPad Mini as  a "question of when, not if," so there's credible support from people who don't just throw words around in a cavalier fashion. I’m keeping my mind open to the possibility of the iPad Mini for a lot of reasons.

For all of the people with an industry-centric view right now that make claims like Apple doesn’t need to do an iPad Mini because: 1) Steve Jobs said no, 2) iPad dominates the game so why launch another one, 3) there isn’t any more room for a new product in the tablet market, or my favorite 4) they’ll do it to *crush* the competition. Those all make sense until they don’t -- which is to say, new products and ideas come to fruition all of the time whether focus groups or market demand asks for it.

We don’t live in a world where market drives demand anymore, we live in a world of technology possibilities and with that comes new ideas that people weren’t asking for. Nobody was asking to walk around with a phone in their pocket all day back in the 1990’s before mobile phones came into mass use, now nobody can go without one.

What seems very likely right now is that Apple VP of industrial design Jony Ive in the famous Apple Labs might be testing out what an iPad Mini might be like as a prototype. This is the type of thing that would be a precursor to an iPad Mini going into full scale production, but is clearly no real, tangible sign that Apple will actually do a real iPad Mini release date. Still, it's interesting to consider that Apple might be looking into it ... If it's true, then Apple would see the need to offer a more travel-friendly iPad to counter the success of smaller Android tablets and the Amazon Kindle Fire. The analogy I keep hearing is a tablet that “fits in a coat pocket” to define travel-friendly. The iPad right now is just too big to carry around in your hand on the go, never mind to trying to stuff it into ANY pocket. After all Apple did release many different versions of the iPod, even though they clearly had a lock on the MP3 player game.

What are your thoughts? Do you think the iPadMini as a happening idea? Would you buy one, given the chance? Do you think Apple should just stick to one size fits all?

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