Rumors of a smaller iPad mini having been intensifying over the last few weeks, with both Bloomberg and a Taiwanese news outlet claiming Apple is planning to release one in the fall. The Wall Street Journal (via 9to5Mac) today became yet another source to support the rumor, stating that Apple is planning mass production by September before a likely October launch alongside the new iPhone.
Apple Inc.’s AAPL +1.16% component suppliers in Asia are preparing for mass production in September of a tablet computer with a smaller screen than the iPad, people familiar with the situation said, suggesting a launch for the device is near.
Two of the people said that the tablet’s screen will likely be smaller than eight inches.
Officials at the component suppliers, who declined to be named, said this week that Apple has told them to prepare for mass production of the smaller tablet. The Wall Street Journal reported in February that Apple was testing such a device but hadn’t yet decided whether to proceed with production.
It seems that Apple is making this move to, above everything else, have a tablet in the 7 inch market, something which their cheapest tablet, the iPad 2, at 10 inches, cannot accomplish. If the rumors are true, Tim Cook is taking Apple in a new direction, away from Steve Jobs’ opinion, who dismissed the notion of a smaller screen than 9.7 inches.
It will definitely be interesting to see what happens, but with both WSJ and Bloomberg supporting the same thesis, we could very well see a smaller iPad, something inconceivable one or two years ago.