Fresh rumors are making their rounds about the release of the Mini iPad this to take on Google’s planned Nexus 7 tablet. If Apple makes good on a sub-9.7 inch iPad, how will that impact the iPhone 5′s screen size (and release date)?
It was just about this time last year that the tech community began to try out the rumor that a new-generation iPad would be co-released along with the iPhone 5. Dubbed the iPad 2S, iPad 2 Plus, iPad Pro, iPad Mini and iPad HD, the rumor always seemed odd, considering that we had just gotten the iPad 2 in the spring of 2011. Plus, how likely would it be that Apple would co-release a new tablet and the landmark iPhone 5 at the same time?
Of course, that never happened — we didn’t get an iPhone 5 or an iPad [fill in the blank].
Now, we’re beginning to hear fresh rumors of the proposed “Mini iPad” as a reality for real ease sometime between now and the end of the year. This time, around, however, we’ve got more information: we’ve heard from Jim Darymple that the Mini iPad prototype does exist. And now, we also know that Google is planning the Nexus 7 tablet, which will debut this year at the ultra-affordable $199 price tag. Along with the Kindle Fire and Nook, Apple is now the only major tablet maker to not offer a similarly-sized and equipped tablet device for around that price.
According to Bloomberg:
“Apple Inc. (AAPL) plans to debut a smaller, cheaper iPad by year-end, two people with knowledge of the plans said, to help maintain dominance of the tablet market as Google Inc. (GOOG) and Microsoft Corp. (MSFT) prepare competing handheld devices.
The new model will have a screen that’s 7 inches to 8 inches diagonally, less than the current 9.7-inch version, said the people, who asked not to be identified because Apple hasn’t made its plans public. The product, which Apple may announce by October, won’t have the high-definition screen featured on the iPad that was released in March, one of the people said.”
This isn’t an iPad-centric new blog, but I think we’ll all agree that the prospect of a Mini iPad is interesting, and we all hope that Apple gives it a try. Darymple told us earlier in the year that the Mini iPad prototype is exactly like the current iPad spec-wise — it’s just smaller. What would be a total coup in the tablet market is for Apple to release their own 7-inch iPad that is essentially the same price as its competitors, but offers much higher-performance features, such as a more powerful processor, or even the ultra-premium Retina display, which laptop users are paying through the nose for with the new MacBook Pros.
All of this being said, how will it impact the iPhone 5?
From a release date standpoint, I still don’t know how Apple is going to do it. Assuming that they do not announce or release anything in July or August, it will leave three months — September, October, and November — to ostensibly get out the iPhone 5, new iPod, iTV, Mini iPad, and iMac, if all of these devices are truly slated for 2012. I think it’s impossible — I’ve never believed that Apple would co-release much of anything, except for maybe computers. I don’t see the iPod and iPhone 5 being released together, or the iPhone 5 and Mini iPad, or the iTV and iPhone 5, or whatever combination you want to come up with. In my mind, something from this list isn’t going to get released in 2012.
Let’s hope it isn’t the iPhone 5!
If the Bloomberg rumors are true, and the Mini iPad is going to be announced in October, the recent August rumors for the iPhone 5 — however implausible they may seem, might be what Cupertino has in mind. Stranger things have happened.
Furthermore, the screen size of the iPad Mini would have some kind of impact on the display specs on the iPhone 5 as well, I think, and the theory that Apple will employ a new, longer-yet-not-wider screen with new aspect ratio might be all the more believable, since it would allow Apple to increase the screen size without crafting it in such a way that would in any way compete with the experience of a 7-inch Mini iPad.
remember when the first rumors of the elongated iPhone 5 screen came out? The notion was floated by a couple of commenters on the Verge forum, but many believed that this was a covert publicity stunt by Apple to get the word out on the street about their new display shape, and see what the reaction would be. The leaked iPhone 5 device reported on by 9to5Mac, however bogus they may be, could also be a part of the plan — to gauge the reaction to such a design.
I think that Apple will release a 7-inch Mini iPad. I also believe that they want to increase the display of the iPhone 5, but they also want to remain within spec of the iPhone design that has persevered even after other smartphones have superseded its screen size and form factor. Finally, I think that Apple will want to keep the iPhone 5 and Mini iPad fall enough apart in screen size to encourage users to own both. For this reason, I think the longer 4-inch screen is going to be a reality on the iPhone 5.
By Michael Nace