iPad 3 Mini Coming Late 2012 [RUMOR]

    February 10, 2012
    Josh Wolford
    Comments are off for this post.

Call it the little rumor that could.

If you’re someone who loves your iPad, but just hates how big it is, the following may excite you. Technology Buiness Research analyst Ezra Gottheil tells the Chicago Tribune that there will in fact be an iPad 3 mini this year.

“I believe that’s always been in the plan,” Gottheil said. “Actually, that’s a good form factor for some users, and although they will also charge a premium above other similar-sized tablets, they want to protect that price flank.”

The iPad mini would be a 7-inch tablet, a full 2.7 inches smaller than the iPad 2.

As we’ve previously pointed out, rumors of a smaller, 7-inch iPad are pretty much perennial. People have always speculated that Apple would release a tablet that would bridge the gap between the iPhone and the original iPad. Every time there’s a rumor, it gets shot down pretty quickly. The last major iPad 3 mini rumor surfaced at the end of 2011.

And of course, there’s that thing that Steve Jobs said about the iPad size being the minimum size for a tablet. He didn’t want a tablet to feel like a giant smartphone.

Gottheil says that the iPad 3 mini would hit sometime later this year, well after the regular iPad 3 launch. The latest rumors have put the iPad 3 launch event occurring during the first week of March. Supposed leaked images of that device are already making the rounds.

If Apple began producing a 7-inch iPad, it would obviously become a direct competitor to Amazon’s Kindle Fire, which is also 7 inches (although maybe not in price). The Kindle Fire has been a bestseller for Amazon since its launch last year – the most sold product during the holiday shopping season.

Although people are buying, a recent study suggests that Kindle Fire owners aren’t quite as happy with their product as iPad owner. Only 54% reported being “very satisfied” with their device, a substantially lower satisfaction rate than iPad users (74%). Of course, we can’t say how the screen size impacts these figures.

And what about Google, who’s also been rumored to be getting back into the tablet game in a big way. Could we eventually have a three-headed 7-inch tablet monster?

Would you want an 7-inch iPad? Or do you agree with Jobs, that it would just feel like an oversized smartphone? Let us know in the comments.

  • Al

    The current Ipad size gets my vote.

  • Carolyn

    I am eagerly awaiting a 7 inch model. I was tempted by the Kindle Fire because of its size.

  • Ken B.

    Why is the Kindle Fire a big deal? Everything suggests it’s a glorified LCD eReader that can play angry birds. My nook Touch also runs on Android, but no one’s touting that as an iPad killer (possibly because it can’t run angry birds?). The iPad is about as close as you can get to a touch screen laptop without it being a touch screen laptop. You’ve got the whole App Store too, the biggest App Store (which does, by it’s very nature, make it the best). I don’t own an iPad, but am considering it, if it can give me what I need to replace my laptop. My brother’s Asus Eee (not the transformer; the one that has a fold out keyboard) is pretty close, but the App Store on it really does stink.

    • Ken B.

      That’s not to say the Kindle Fire couldn’t compete in the future, you understand. I understand potential. But it doesn’t have the capabilities of the original iPad, which is almost two years old. That’s a lot of catching up for a brand new device to do if it’s going to compete with the iPad 3. It’s like running a mile against an Olympic athlete, but giving them a 2 minute head start.
      I will say, however, I do enjoy the iPad’s current size, but those 7 inch displays are pretty sleek – you can hold them firmly in one hand and use them with the other, which isn’t something you can do well with the 9.7 inch screen.

  • jaimie

    Can not wait for the 7″ version. Neither Kindle Fire or Nook Tablet can store videos. This will be perfect for both reading and travel.

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