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7 inch iPad Mini rumors go mainstream, repeat fall announcement timeline

Back in May, iMore reported that $200 7-inch iPad Mini was coming this October, and now the big mainstream publications like Bloomberg and The Wall Street Journal are repeating those reports. Their sources indicate suppliers are ramping up for production as well.

We've already gone over the reasons why Apple would release a 7-inch iPad, especially now that the Google Nexus 7 is on the market and a Kindle Fire refresh is almost certainly on the horizon.

We still haven't seen the type of hardware leaks for a smaller iPad that we've seen for the iPhone 5), but the consistency of these rumors  at least provides a rough idea of what to expect in the medium-term from Apple. There are a lot of great 7-inch tablets out there, and Apple will probably blow them out of the water so long as they're willing to offer a more accessible price point.

Personally, I'm a fan of the size, but I'm not sure it's worth sacrificing a Retina-quality display. How often do you wish your iPad was just a little bit smaller? Is portability really a huge issue, or was Jobs right in saying the 7-inch size is a joke?

Source: WSJ, Bloomberg

Editor-at-very-large at Mobile Nations, gamer, giant.

18 Comments
  • Having recently bought a Playbook to toy with I can say that the 7" size is better for mobile use I have mine mounted in my truk using it as a gps, the 10" for home use, if they build a 7" iPad I will be buying one to add to my collection and it may just be enough to give the playbook to the kids as with the current selection of apps it really is only good for gaming or browsing flash based sites when it isnt in use as a gps.
  • I will also agree that the 7" tablet is fantastic for the mobile professional. I had a PB and it was great to use but the lack of app ecosystem rendered it almost unusable.
    7" ipad? Yes. I will be purchasing one.
  • I would imagine that The Steve probably had a lot of meetings with Foxconn that involved them telling him that if he went for a 7" design, they could lower production costs considerably. Knowing this, he realized that PC-makers, with their history of cutting corners where possible, would jump all over a 7" design. By insulting the size at the outset, he guaranteed that those who cling to his every word would only consider an iPad for the immediate future. Now that several 7" models are on the market, each day that passes risks more customers seeing a 7" model and finding it attractive. Now is the time to launch a competitor, as the initial infatuation with the iPad has worn off and it has become just another piece of our everyday lives.
  • The boy who cried wolf is crying again. Hopefully the wolf is finally here.
  • October release... The historic date for the Music event... Come on!!! It´s the NEW IPOD TOUCH... The name "iPad Mini" sucks...
    New iPhone 4´, New iPod Touch 7´ and the New iPad 10´... cover all the competition with three products...
    Why the hell they are going to use the name "iPad Mini", when they have another product set and almost dying to relaunch...
  • How magical could it possibly be? It would prob have less features [hardware wise] and would just be a smaller wall of icons [not a knock, just a description].
    I'm with another commenter I read [don't recall who] in that I'm not sure how they could market this as something you should buy over the 10" but Apple always shocks us with something so we'll see.
  • You don´t buy this over the 10´. You should buy all of three... Thats the point of not naming it iPad Mini... You got and iPhone, and iPod Touch and and iPad... All sizes covered...
  • Interesting I thought Steve Jobs goal was to not fragment the apple market, more choices for the consumer is always a good thing
  • I can't decide whether I would prefer the regular or a smaller one. Since I can't afford the current iPad if they made a smaller, less expensive one I would almost definitely get it. Frankly, I wouldn't be watching movies or surfing the web on it much, mainly social networking, some gaming, reading, and emailing, all of which are just easily done by a 7" as with the current size. Frankly, I do almost all of my Internet (the above mentioned things) on my iPod Touch over my 15" laptop because of portability and comfort of use. I would love the larger screen and a seven inch would by even lighter (presumably) than regular iPad, which I would like. Anyhow, if all these rumors end up being totally wrong I am going to be so pissed.
  • I don't think I've ever wished my iPad was smaller. At least not often enough to remember.
  • For $200 I'd buy one, just 'cause. I prefer the 10" size, it's a laptop replacement for me. When Jobs said 7" tablets were DOA, they were more expensive than the 10" iPad !
  • As a amateur photographer on the go, a 7 inch would complement perfectly my gear
  • I personally hope they do make a 7 inch IPad. That would be the perfect size. I also hope they make it 4g
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  • Didn't your lord and savior St. Jobs say 7" was a waste of time? and he couldn't ever, EVER be wrong...
  • It will be great when Apple invents the Smaller iPad. We need smaller tablets. Once Apple invents this and Patents it then I bet Google and Amazon will copy it. Those thieves.
  • A 7.85-inch "tablet" (screen) is basically an 8-inch one—in the same way we call the iPad, with its 9.7-inch screen a 10-inch tablet. Then Nexus 7's outer dimensions are smaller than the rumored screen for the so-called iPad Mini.
    I don't see enough difference between the two sizes pictured in the mock-up to justify a separate device. The slightly smaller tablet would offer enough reduction in weight and portability to facilitate different use cases: one-hand reading or stowage in a purse or back pocket (like the current crop of more accurately named 7-inch tablets).
    This sounds like the iPhone 5 rumors all over again. Engadget posts a mockup of a larger iPhone, and thousands of subsequent blog posts cite the "source" until people forget that it was just speculation in the first place.
    Currently, 8GB iPod Touches are being sold for $200. Apple might be able to sell a physically larger model for $250 without a big hit in margins, but then consumers would have to choose between an iPad Mini and $300 iPad 2. For a two-inch difference, the ability to type in landscape mode would be significantly impaired (smaller tablets compel users the thumb-type) without offering an offsetting advantage.
    I get the wishful thinking being applied here. A true 7-inch tablet would make a great e-reader for fiction and literary non-fiction—books that are mostly prose and lack complex layouts like textbooks do. But as a general purpose tablet, I have yet to see any evidence that smaller tablets not marketed as e-readers (the Fire and Nook) are commercially viable at iPad orders of magnitude.
  • A 7.85" 4:3 device is still not ideal to me. It's probably better than an ipod touch though and more suitable for kids.
    If the iphone 5 is to be 16:9, i'd rather see a bigger 7" version of THAT. But enough of the cheap, 8gb, let's compete with the Kindle Fire piece of garbage. Screen size should not denote low end or high end. It makes no sense. Phones cost more than ipads right now.
    Besides, if that's the case, then the iphone should be considered low end even at 4".
    Make the best device you can Apple no matter what the size. Otherwise, it doesn't interest me and it only serves to devalue Apple's brand as something less than premium. Targeting "low end" will get you in trouble. This year's tablet will be next year's low end device.