Following on from recent rumors suggesting that Apple is preparing to launch an iPad mini, Bloomberg is reporting that the company will be looking to launch the device in October of this year. The report suggests that Apple has constructed an iPad with a screen that is between 7 and 8 inches diagonally in size, with a resolution of 1024 x 768 pixels which is exactly the same resolution as that of the iPad and iPad 2 except, of course, in a smaller screen.
The report suggests that a launch will take place in October and that Apple intends to have the new device on retail shelves by the end of the year. The device will be marketed as a smaller, less expensive iPad that can ‘undercut the ambitions of Google, Microsoft and Amazon.com Inc to gain traction in the advancing tablet market’. The report forecasts the price of the new device as close to $199. This is substantially less than the $399 base model iPad 2 and the $499 new Retina Display iPad.
Maintaining the resolution of the device at 1024 x 768 means that all native non-Retina Display apps will be able to run on the new device without developers making any special modifications. Whether or not Apple will do this at $199 is up for debate. My prediction is that such a device would retail for $299 rather than $199, particularly given the $199 price point of the cheapest iPod touch.
Additionally, it again raises questions about whether the iPod touch line will continue to be produced if this device ever launches, although the Retina Display of the iPod touch makes a strong case for it to continue to be produced.