Some might have thought that Apple fans would be content for a while, at least, with the recent release of the New iPad, but new reports are sure to get speculation and excitement right back up. According to an inside source Apple is already testing out a smaller version of the device, the iPad Mini, in their own labs. But before you start saving, there's a chance the slimmed-down tablet will never see a retail release.
That's according to comments made by John Gruber on the 5by5 Talk Show, claiming to have heard from some at Apple about a 7.85" tablet making the rounds internally. Rumors about a scaled-down tablet to compete with the Kindle and wide range of similar devices have long circulated, and while Gruber couldn't say whether the smaller device was being prepared for release, he did offer this:
“What I do know is that they have one in the lab, a 7.85â€³ iPad that runs at 1024 x 768. And it’s just like the 9.7-inch iPad shrunk down a little bit. The apps wouldn’t need to be redesigned or recompiled to work on it – it’s just the iPad smaller.”
There's no need to debate whether an iPad Mini would be a worthwhile venture for the company, since the device would likely sell every bit as well as anything Apple-branded these days. There's also no sign of the mobile gaming market going away any time soon, even if the Vita and 3DS can manage to catch up by the end of the year.
Whether or not the smaller version of the iPad is in fact the 'iPad 4' that was rumored to release in 2012 is up for discussion, but a 7.85" device is certainly a rumor that makes more sense than most. The only real question is whether Apple is ready to make such drastic changes while the industry's faith in the company's future is still colored by the passing of former Apple CEO Steve Jobs. With rumors already circulating about a dedicated iOS gamepad, and now the notion of an iPad that is far from necessary, perhaps patience is the right course of action.
Gruber himself stated that there's a good chance it will only ever amount to an internal experiment, so it could be quite some time before any more information is officially revealed. When and if the iPad Mini becomes a real thing, we'll keep you updated.
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