iPad Mini Specs, Release Date: No 4G LTE, Wi-Fi Only? Holiday Retail Battle with Amazon Kindle Fire HD, 32GB Google Nexus 7, Microsoft Surface RT Tablet
While excitement has been ramping up ahead of Apple's widely rumored Nov. 2 release date for its new "iPad Mini," today a report suggest the device may lack one of the most cherished features users have wished for: 4G LTE.
According to a report released today by British newspaper The Guardian, who quoted unnamed industry sources, Apple's 7.85-inch tablet device, dubbed by the public as the iPad Mini, will only offer Wi-Fi connectivity.
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The same sources reportedly suggested the iPad Mini would use Apple's new Lightning connecting port, which recently made its debut on the iPhone 5 smartphone. The newspaper also asserts that the release of the iPad Mini will be accompanied by a refreshed iPad 3, also with Lightning connector and broader 4G LTE support.
Pricegrabber conducted a survey earlier this year that found 52 percent of those questioned would consider purchasing an iPad Mini for approximately $250 to $300. But with 3G wireless network connectivity among the most-anticipated features in the survey, you have to wonder if this will have an effect on the iPad Mini's release.
Sterne Agee analyst Shaw Wu claims he is "picking up much increased component sourcing activity for what appears to be for a smaller form factor iPad," and that a release of a smaller version of the iPad by Apple could be "the competition's worst nightmare."
As far as pricing the iPad mini, Wu doesn't think that Apple needs to undercut the competition in the way that Google and Amazon have done with their $199 tablets. "A price point of $299 or $349 makes sense," says Wu.
Apple's iPad Mini will certainly compete with companies like Amazon, which offers its 7-inch Kindle Fire tablet with a starting price of $159, while Google's Nexus 7 tablet, which also only offers Wi-Fi connectivity, starts at $199.
Apple is rumored to be sending press invites out to the media for an iPad Mini unveiling event as early as Oct. 12, with some analysts expecting a public release date toward the end of October or early November, in time to saturate the market by the holidays.
Sources indicate Apple will hold an even to debut its new "iPad mini" tablet on Oct. 17, pointing to a likely Nov. 2 release date, according to a report by Fortune.
Apple has ordered 10 million iPad mini tablets to be built in the run before Christmas, double what rival Amazon has ordered for its Kindle Fire tablets in the same period, according to a recent report by the Wall Street Journal.
Similarly, Japanese Apple blog Macatakara claims that production of the iPad mini is well underway in Brazil, according to "reliable sources" it spoke to.
Whether the iPad Mini is released on Nov. 2 is virtually irrelevant; the device will almost certainly arrive in time for the holidays, as we can't picture Apple not wanting maintain its control of the market.
Apple's iPad has lost 29 percent of its share of the tablet market over the last year due to the introduction of new lower-priced tablets, according to a report from Pew Research Center. While 81 percent of tablet users surveyed in 2011 reported owning an iPad, now just 52 percent have the device.
Nearly half, 48 percent, now own Android-based devices, and about half of those devices, 21 percent, are Kindle Fires, Pew Research Center's survey found.
Nearly a quarter of U.S. adults, 22 percent, now own a tablet device, double the number from 2011. And nearly a quarter of those who don't have a tablet, 23 percent, plan to get one in the next six months.
Either way, this all spells an total retail war for tablets this holiday shopping season.
The Internet has also been whispering about a possible 32GB version of Google's hugely popular Nexus 7 tablet, which, according to a report from Droid-Life, could be released on or around the same day as Microsoft's launch of its Surface tablets, as early as Oct. 24.
If the report is to be believed, the release date would set up a four-way holiday showdown with Microsoft, Google, Amazon, and Apple all releasing tablets around the same time.
Resellers are reportedly expecting to receive shipments of the 32GB Nexus 7 "sometime around" Oct. 24, an unnamed source told Droid-Life, although the source said no official date has been confirmed.
Droid-Life found that resellers are initially planning to sell the 32GB tablet for $259.92, although the site cautions that this price is just an estimate and is not related to what Google will actually charge for the device when it launches. Previously Google had only sold the Nexus 7 in 8GB and 16GB models.
Microsoft is widely expected to simultaneously release its Surface tablets and Windows 8 on Oct. 26, through permanent and 32 temporary "pop-up" stores around the U.S. and Canada.
iPad Mini specs
7.8 inch screen with 1,024 x 768 resolution. The resolution will probably not be retina display, but it is possible it would have the same ppi as found on the iPad 2. The tablet would be able to handle all the apps. The design will stick to the same aesthetics of the iPhone 5 with an anodized aluminium back plate rather than a plastic build.
It will have two cameras, one front facing, for FaceTime or other video chat applications, and another, higher resolution rear-facing camera on the back. Sports a lightning port connector, like the iPhone 5. Likely an A6 processor, although, some sites are suggesting it may be an A5 like the iPad 2.