The latest half-baked rumors from China are suggesting once again that Apple is preparing to kick off an iPad mini this fall, with an initial shipment of 6 million units. The supposed $249 - $299 price point would compete nicely with the lower-end Android tablets that are coming out of the woodwork, and meet upcoming Windows 8 tablets head-on. The source is apparently close to Hon Hai, the parent company of Apple's primary manufacturing partner, Foxconn.
These rumors are always especially entertaining considering how non-reactionary a company Apple has always been. They didn't release a budget netbook to meet cheap PCs head on, they released the 11-inch MacBook Air and the iPad. They didn't release a budget iPhone to meet cheap handsets head on, they kept around previous generation iPhones at increasingly lower prices.
We're reasonable certain Apple has an iPad mini in the labs, but if and when they choose release it, it will be because they've figured out a go-to-market strategy to sell hundreds of millions of them, regardless of what the Android and Windows tablet makers are doing (or not doing).
The iPod nano and iPod shuffle both addressed the lower end of the MP3 market and an iPad mini could address the lower end of the tablet market, or it could just clutter Apple's product line between iPod touch and iPad.
For now, all of this iPad mini talk is strictly in the realm of speculation; so here's the part where we ask you what you want. Have you held off on buying an iPad because of cost or size? Would an iPad mini get you to buy and Apple product when you wouldn't have otherwise?