The iPad rumor that just won’t die – the one that says Apple will release a smaller iPad or an iPad Mini as it’s often called – has gained strength again this week. Reports from both Bloomberg and The Wall Street Journal say the iPad Mini is coming this fall.
Here’s a key slice of what the WSJ has to say on this:
Apple Inc.’s component suppliers in Asia are preparing for mass production in September of a tablet computer with a smaller screen than the iPad, people familiar with the situation said, suggesting a launch for the device is near. Two of the people said that the tablet’s screen will likely be smaller than eight inches. The iPad’s screen measures 9.7 inches, unchanged since the first model was released in 2010.
Officials at the component suppliers, who declined to be named, said this week that Apple has told them to prepare for mass production of the smaller tablet.
John Gruber of Daring Fireball notes that if these reports prove true he expects the iPad Mini (or whatever it ends up being called) would likely be a 7.85 inch tablet with a 1024X768 display – based on the reasons and logic put forward by A.T. FAUST III of App Advice a few months back.
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According to 9to5Mac and their trusty trusted sources Apple will be bringing the popular Siri voice-assistant feature to the iPad in iOS 6, the next major update to the iPad’s operating system. iOS 6 is expected to be released this summer or fall – we’ll learn more about when Apple holds their WWDC keynote event next Monday.
Here’s a slice of the 9to5Mac report on this:
Come this fall, people will start talking to their iPads. Apple’s breakthrough Siri Assistant, based on an incredible artificial-intelligence system, will no longer be exclusive to users of the popular iPhone 4S. According to trusted sources, one of the tentpole iOS 6 features is Siri support on the iPad. Not just the Voice Dictation brought to the iPad with the third-generation models and iOS 5.1, but the complete Siri voice assistant.
Siri, the software we first detailed for the iPhone in September of last year, brings all of its iPhone 4S features to the iPad, except for the phone-related commands. Music playback, iMessaging, Calendar managing, Reminders, Weather, Maps integration, E-mailing, Notes, Contacts searching, Safari integration, Wolfram-Alpha searching, and more are all present.
They also state that Siri for iPad will not be full-screen as it is on the iPhone 4S, which makes sense given the major difference in form factors between iPhone and iPad. Their mockup shown above illustrates how Siri on the iPad might look.
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We’ve been hearing rumors and reports for months now on the prospect of Microsoft Office for iPad. The Daily – the iPad-only newspaper – were first to report on this back in February, and this week they’ve got a new report up stating that there’s now a specific launch date for Microsoft Office for iPad.
According to The Daily, Office for iPad is set to launch on November 10. Here’s some more detail from their latest report on how far along progress on the app is:
We’ve learned that the development team within Office Mobile finished its work on the project last month, and the efforts of the design group wrapped soon after. The app is now in the hands of a usability team that appraises software that utilizes the Metro design language for “Metro compliance” and suggests changes as needed. When approved by the team, the app likely will go to Apple for app store approval, which could take a couple of weeks.
So the app is very nearly ready to be released according to the above information; which begs the question whey hold it all the way until November. Perhaps to give Windows 8 based tablets a run of a few months of exclusivity on an Office app before letting it hit the iPad – though that window is obviously getting smaller all the time until a Windows 8 tablet is actually released.
In any case, it’s looking more and more likely that we’ll be seeing Office for iPad before the end of this year.
Back in February The Daily, the first iPad-only newspaper, published a report saying that Microsoft was working on a version of Microsoft Office for iPad, it was nearly complete, and they had even got some hands-on time with ‘a working prototype’ of the software.
This week the Boy Genius himself. Jonathan Geller of BGR, says he has learned from a reliable source that Microsoft is planning to release MS Office for the iPad and Android tablets – and they’re aiming for a November launch.
Their source also claims to have seen Microsoft Office running on an iPad and mentions that the splash screen for it says ‘Office for iOS’ – which suggests there would be an iPhone version as well.
If we knew some specific dates for when the new Windows 8 tablets will launch (if ever) then we might be able to start guessing how long afterwards Microsoft would see fit to allow their office suite on other mobile platforms.
If and when Microsoft Office comes to the iPad, I think it’s a clear win-win situation for Apple and Microsoft. For Apple it’s another premier productivity suite and some flagship apps (especially for many corporate iPad users) and for Microsoft it would be a huge boost for their leading software suite in the rapidly growing mobile arena.
Over the last week or so there have been a couple of ‘out there’ sort of iPad 3 rumors – one suggesting that prices for the iPad 3 (or whatever the next-gen model is named) would be around $80 higher than those of the iPad 2, and another saying the top level storage for the iPad 3 would be reduced to 32GB.
Both seemed very unlikely, and a recent report at 9to5Mac suggests that both are inaccurate.
We’ve gotten word that iPad pricing is going to be the same across the board as the current iPad 2 models which should be no big surprise given Apple’s history – they rarely raise prices. Even better, some countries with currencies doing better than the US dollar should expect to see marginal drops in prices. … While we’re squashing, the configurations appear to be the same as current 16/32/64GB.
Very good stuff. I fully expect iPad 3 prices to stay at the same level as the first two generations, and for the storage levels of 16/32/64GB to remain the same or perhaps even include a 128GB model as well.