Just in case we needed yet more strong indications that the iPad Mini – or whatever Apple ends up calling its new smaller iPad – is on the way quite soon, now The Wall Street Journal has reported that mass production has started and is in line with a release timeframe of late October to early November.
As 9to5Mac reported yesterday, the WSJ had this to say on the subject:
Apple Inc.’s Asian component suppliers have started mass production of a new tablet computer smaller than the current iPad, people with knowledge of the situation said, as the Silicon Valley company tries to stay competitive against rivals such as Google Inc. and Amazon.com Inc.that are offering smaller, less-expensive alternatives to the iPad.
All we need now is to see an invitation go out for an Apple unveiling event. Hopefully that’s coming any day now. As Tom Petty once said, the waiting is the hardest part.
Image Source: 9to5Mac
It’s been a little while, while the iPhone took center stage, but the iPad Mini rumors are beginning to flow again. Today there’s a major new iPad Mini rumor courtesy of Philip Elmer-DeWitt at Fortune Tech.
It offers up some specific dates during this month and next in the iPad Mini launch timeline – including press invites for an expected unveiling event going out next week, on October 10. Their source is described as a ‘major Apple investor’ who in turn has heard these dates from ‘multiple sources’. Here’s the details on the rumored dates:
What our source adds is the specificity of a date: The press, he says, can expect invitations to go out on Oct. 10.
If the rumor is true, and if Apple follows its usual scheduling protocol, that would suggest a special event to unveil the product on Wednesday, Oct. 17, with a launch day of Friday Nov. 2 — plenty of time to capture holiday sales.
So that’s invites to an Apple event going out middle of next week, the event itself to be held a week later on October 17 and a launch day of Friday November 2. I haven’t seen a Yep or Nope from The Man Who Knows as yet on this one – so for now I’m going to continue hoping that the timeline for the iPad Mini might be a bit faster. I was thinking over this past weekend that I hope to see Apple’s event invite go out this weekend, then an unveiling event next week (say the 10th), and then a launch by around the 19th.
Then again, if the Fortune Tech source is correct then the iPad Mini launch will be the Friday that falls two days after Halloween. Now that could make for some fun late night / early morning lines.
Want to see what the rumored iPad Mini is probably going to look like? Well you’re in luck – as a number of viable looking mockups and renderings have come out over the last week or so.
The one shown above is courtesy of 9to5Mac and they say it ties in nicely with the growing consensus on the iPad Mini’s specs and the latest parts leaks for the widely expected smaller iPad.
MacRumors has also released a very detailed set of 3D renderings of the iPad Mini and even a companion video for them – though they also point out that since they worked up these renderings a few likely specs details have emerged which are different to some of the assumptions made in these renderings.
Here’s my favorite line in the MacRumors piece:
As has been previously noted, the 7.85-inch iPad offers 66% of the surface area of the current 9.7-inch iPad and almost 40% more surface area than competing 7-inch tablets.
That’s huge if it all turns out to be accurate. Those are the sort of numbers that should make all the difference in the world in terms of how good the apps and experience are on the iPad Mini. An iPad that’s significantly thinner and lighter while still offering 2/3 of the surface area – damn that sounds good.
Of course all of this is just conjecture at the moment, as Apple has announced nothing and is isn’t even expected to until next month – but it seems like with each passing year the Apple rumor mill gets more and more effective at outing a healthy percentage of the big details on hot new Apple devices. I’m definitely hoping that proves to be true with the iPad Mini.
As always, I’d love to hear your thoughts on these latest iPad Mini renderings. Are you lusting after the iPad Mini yet?
Just when I was getting all giddy about buying a lovely new iPad Mini or iPad Air or whatever Apple’s smaller iPad ends up being called in the next few weeks, along comes word from those who are generally in the know that we won’t be seeing an iPad Mini announcement in September.
Up until recently all the usual signs pointed to the iPad Mini being announced alongside the new iPhone at a widely expected though not yet confirmed Apple event on September 12 – with the new iPhone release following within 10 days.
In the last few days several reliable and extremely well connected sources have weighed in suggesting that’s not the case – and that the iPad Mini will not share the stage or steal any thunder from the iPhone launch, but instead will be announced at Apple’s traditional music + iPod event in early October. John Gruber at Daring Fireball first suggested this approach would be the most likely, then Jim Dalrymple at Loop Insight gave his nod of confirmation by quoting the salient excerpt of Gruber’s piece and saying “Oh that Gruber is a smart fellow”.
The rational, semi grown-up side of me thinks this all makes perfect sense. The new iPhone and the iPad Mini don’t compete for center stage at a single announcement event and don’t compete quite so strongly with each other for customer dollars with at least a number of weeks between their respective release dates – and both still come out well in time to get the most out of the holiday season.
The latest rumors reported by Apple Insider suggest that production for the iPad Mini (or iPad Air or whatever Apple decides to name it) is set to ramp up next month, in preparation for a launch of the new smaller iPad in October:
… fresh rumors say supply volume of the device are estimated to reach four million units per month beginning in September, giving the company enough time to prepare for the lucrative holiday season.
The report is based on sources at DigiTimes, which has a very spotty record when it comes to Apple rumors – but it does sound a lot like similar reports we heard from them about ramped up production for the new iPad at the tail end of 2011 and early this year, which seem to have proved accurate.
October seems quite a viable time for the release of the new smaller iPad too. One thing I know for sure – the more speculation I read on the size of the iPad Mini and how screen resolution and apps will work on it and how light it will be, and the more lovely mockups I see at iMore, the more ready I feel to buy it yesterday. As In, I really can’t wait to get my hands on this new smaller iPad now.
After a brief lull on the iPad Mini rumors front, things have kicked back in to a very high gear this week. In the last few days several of the leading ‘in the know’ sort of writers and sites have weighed in with new thoughts on and even lovely mockups of the much-anticipated new smaller iPad.
Here are a handful of things that have excited me the most on this front:
— John Gruber at Daring Fireball offered a fascinating post titled ‘Thinking This iPad Mini Thing Even Througher’ – where he offers his latest thoughts, analysis, and some slick math relating to the iPad Mini. One of the key points if that the device’s most notable feature may well be its lightness – with it weighing in somewhere around 250-300 grams. This would be a major selling point for the new smaller iPad:
Weight is a huge factor, maybe the factor, in one-handed use, and its too-heavy-to-hold-in-one-hand weight has always been one of the biggest knocks against the iPad-as-we-know-it. I’m thinking the iPad Mini will be not just thinner and lighter than the iPad-as-we-know-it, but remarkably thinner and lighter than its competitors in the small tablet market.3 Yet it will have a bigger display.
Back in October of 2010 Steve Jobs made his thoughts on 7 inch tablets pretty clear during an Apple financial results call. Among the comments he made were these:
7 inch tablets are tweeners – too big to compete with smartphone, too small to compete with tablets
We don’t think you can make a great tablet with a 7 inch screen
Now there’s some evidence emerging (during the never-ending Apple v Samsung court battles) that Jobs’ opinion on smaller tablets may have changed by early 2011. As MacRumors and CNET have recently reported, an email sent by Apple VP Eddy Cue to other senior execs at the company states as much:
Having used a Samsung Galaxy, I tend to agree with many of the comments below (except moving off the iPad). I believe there will be a 7″ market and we should do one. I expressed this to Steve several times since Thanksgiving and he seemed very receptive the last time. I found email, books, facebook and video very compelling on a 7″. Web browsing is definitely the weakest point, but still usable.
It seems a virtual lock that we will be seeing a smaller iPad released this fall / winter, though the general consensus is that it will be much closer to an 8 inch tablet (7.85 to be precise). And probably a big holiday season hit this year too.
Image Source: MacRumors
Lately it has seemed that iPad Mini rumors had reached the boiling point where all that was missing was a date for an Apple announcement event. And now, according to the trusted sources of iMore’s Rene Ritchie, we’ve got one: Wednesday September 12th.
Ritchie’s report says the iPad Mini (or whatever name Apple decides to give it) will be announced alongside the next new iPhone and probably a new iPod Touch as well. The iPhone 5 (or whatever name the next iPhone is given) is said to be set for release on September 21.
According to Ritchie and others like iLounge, the iPad Mini could be released as soon as September 21 or as late as sometime in November.
Ritchie and his sources have a pretty good record when it comes to Apple event and release dates. My feeling, again, is that the iPad Mini release is virtually a lock now – and it looks like a release in just the next few months is on the cards now.
I’m definitely going to continue to save up for an iPad Mini purchase within the next three months. As always, I’d love to hear your thoughts on and purchasing plans (or lack thereof) for the iPad Mini in the comments.
As the summer grinds on I’m starting to think about trying to save my pennies and find a way to budget for trying to acquire two new tablet devices this fall: an iPad Mini and a Microsoft Surface RT.
As I’ve mentioned in a few recent posts, I think the release of an iPad Mini (or whatever name is given to a smaller iPad) is virtually a lock for later this year or early next year. It looks likely that it will be 7.85 inch sized tablet that will extend the iPad range and perhaps put a dent in any momentum that tablets like Google’s Nexus 7 and the Kindle Fire have attained in the absence of a smaller, less expensive iPad.
I’ve been tempted a few times over the last couple of years to try out a smaller tablet than the iPad – especially when I saw a couple of glowing reviews of the 7 inch Galaxy Tab by mobile tech writers whose work I respect and enjoy. Honestly I just never managed to get round to it – when I had the dollars I didn’t have the time and vice versa.
As if there weren’t already enough compelling indicators that Apple is looking to release an iPad Mini over the next half year or so, now The New York Times has weighed in and said their sources confirm the same sort of information we’ve been hearing from Bloomberg and The Wall Street Journal and others over recent weeks.
In a report yesterday the NYT mentioned that the iPad may be facing stiffer competition soon as Google has released their Nexus 7 (which is getting some quite strong reviews), Microsoft has announced their upcoming Surface tablets / hybrid devices and Amazon is said to be planning updates for their Kindle Fire.
But Apple is hardly about to cede ground.
The company is developing a new tablet with a 7.85-inch screen that is likely to sell for significantly less than the latest $499 iPad, with its 9.7-inch display, according to several people with knowledge of the project who declined to be named discussing confidential plans. The product is expected to be announced this year.
As with many new Apple products over the last few years, all the iPad Mini rumor stars are aligning now. Gruber’s little birdies are chirping the same sort of things as the NYT’s people with knowledge of the project. Jim Dalrymple at The Loop is using the word when rather than if when talking about a smaller iPad.
By now it will be a bit of a shocker if we don’t see Apple release a smaller iPad, and I expect over the next couple months we may well start seeing more and more leaks of iPad Mini spec details and perhaps even one of those lovely Apple event invites. Maybe they’ll announce it alongside the next-gen iPhone.
Last week I posted about how iPad Mini rumors had been gaining strength. The feeling of ‘where there’s this much smoke, there must be some fire’ was growing for me and I said this towards the end of that post:
I guess I’ve reached the stage where I’d be more surprised not to see the iPad Mini released in the next 8-10 months, and I wouldn’t be shocked at all to see it launched this year.
Well, this week has only increased that feeling, I’d say it’s now very likely we will see an ‘iPad Mini’ (or whatever Apple ends up calling it) released in the next 6-8 months. The reason I now feel so convinced of this is that two of the best and best-connected Apple writers have weighed in (to varying degrees) on the subject this week, and all the indicators from them are that we will see Apple release a smaller iPad.
John Gruber of Daring Fireball has a post up today titled Let’s Try to Think This iPad Mini Thing All the Way Through. In the post he proceeds to do just that. He works through all the main arguments against the release of the iPad Mini and provides good reasons why these may not hold much weight anymore – as Philip Elmer-Dewitt at Fortune Tech points out:
- The size problem — It’s a mistake to call it a 7-inch iPad, says Gruber, because a 7.85 inches diagonal is closer to 8 inches than the 9.7-inch diagonal iPad is to 10 inches (and nearly everybody refers to the current iPad as a 10-inch tablet). Most 7-inch tablets have been disappointments. An 8-inch tablet needn’t be.
- The sandpaper problem — When Steve Jobs said you’d need to sandpaper your fingers to use a smaller iPad he was talking about a 7-inch screen (50% the surface area of today’s iPad), not a nearly 8-inch inch screen (64%). [According to Jobs and Gruber’s geometry, the ratios are 45% and 66%.] Besides, Jobs was famous for changing his mind on a dime.