Ever since Instapaper developer Marco Arment found references to what is thought to be Apple’s new iPad in his developer logs, speculation has surfaced suggesting that the device will likely not feature entirely new hardware and specs. Instead, it is likely to be a smaller version of the iPad 2.
There are a lot of reasons why this makes sense – we’ll explore a few of the more convincing reasons below.
For one, as Arment noted, the new model numbers are listed as iPad2,5 and iPad2,6. By contrast, the iPad 2 bears a model number of iPad2,1 (as well as iPad2,2 and iPad2,3 for AT&T and Verizon versions, respectively), and the cheaper iPad 2 that hit shelves when the new iPad was released was iPad 2,4. The new iPad bears a model number of iPad3,1, with further versions for various cellular carriers.
Considering the iPad 2 model numbers already used, iPad 2,5 and iPad2,6 represent new models of the iPad 2. The only reason for new iPad 2 models to surface in developer reports is that new hardware is being tested – and why would Apple be testing new models of the iPad 2? While this might be due to testing new iPad 2 models with Apple’s smaller dock connector, the more likely explanation is that they’re testing new models of the iPad Mini with iPad 2-based hardware.
Cost and Production
Apple’s 7.85-inch iPad Mini is expected to cost between $200-300 – the cheapest iPad Apple has ever made. In order to sell a device priced that low, they’d need to get their hardware costs as low as possible. It’s much cheaper to use hardware that’s already been developed than to create new hardware. As such, using internals from the iPad 2 makes a lot of sense – they’re already producing most of the necessary parts.
By using iPad 2 parts, Apple can reuse and recycle parts already in circulation – the only components they’d need to produce are the actual logic board, the display, the battery, and the casing. Everything else is ready to go!
Releasing the iPad 2 as a smaller revamped version of the iPad 2 is a very Apple-like move. It allows them to keep the cost as low as possible, and the resulting hardware will still compete very will with current 7.85-inch tablets on the market. It’s a simple, ingenious move.
It’s all speculation at this point – but I find these points extremely compelling. What about you?