Apple launched its new iPad justsix weeks ago, but that doesn’t mean the world isn’t itching for the next Appletablet. Rumors of a 7-inch iPad (current versions have a 9.7-inch screen) havepopped up again.
This timethe speculation comes from a couple of places. The first is a Chinese sitecalled Netease, which says that there will be sixmillion units ready for launch in the third quarter of this year. It also saysthe tablet could sell for $249 to $299 — just about half the price of thecurrent iPad.
Netease says that Apple is prepping the device to compete against Microsoft’s Windows 8, which is expected to hit the marketaround the holiday season.
Steve Jobshad been quite outspoken about smaller tablets; during one earnings call heeven said that a 7-inch tablet would be “dead on arrival.” On that same call hesaid, “While one could increase the resolution of the display to make up forsome of the difference, it is meaningless unless your tablet also includessandpaper so that the user can sand down their fingers to around one quarter oftheir present size.”
Still,there have been reports for a number of months that Apple does have smallerversions of the iPad in its Cupertino labs. The smaller screen size would makethis rumored version of the iPad easier to hold in one hand and better forreading.
And industry analysts are keen on the idea as well. Shaw Wu of Sterne Agee, a financial analysiscompany, said that an iPad mini is “inevitable.” Wu said the smaller iPad,which he believes to be 7.85-inches in screen size, would be “the competition’sworst nightmare.”
It doesn’tappear the competition is going to have to worry just yet, sincethere still isn’t much concrete evidence that Apple is actually working on aniPad mini.