As if we hadn’t already heard enough rumors about the “iPad mini“, a new report from NetEase (trans. by Kotako, via MacRumors) claims that Apple is planning to produce 6 million 7.85-inch iPads, which will be priced between $249 and $299 and launch sometime in the third quarter.
NetEase claimed that the device will be released around the third quarter of this year to “counter attack” the upcoming Windows tablets. The report further claims that the devices will cost anywhere from US$249 to $299 and that there will be an initial 6 million units ready for launch.
Releasing a smaller iPad at a sub-$300 price point would be an interesting move on Apple’s part – many analysts have suggested that Apple could directly compete with the likes of the Amazon Kindle Fire and other lower-priced Android tablets with a budget-priced iPad.
Another significant concern, however, is whether the launch of a $250 iPad would hurt sales of Apple’s existing iPad lineup (half the price of the current entry-level iPad!) Steve Jobs was also quite vocal about his distain for smaller tablets.
Despite this, Daring Fireball’s John Gruber seemingly confirmed that such a device exists within Apple’s labs (along with many other prototypes that may or may not ever be released). The rumored 7.85-inch iPad would feature a resolution of 1024 x 768.
Here’s how a 7.85-inch iPad would appear in contrast to the current iPad or an iPhone 4S.