According to the Taiwanese Economic Daily News, two potential suppliers – Korean LG Display and Taiwanese AU Optronics – have recently sent samples of their iPad Mini displays to Apple. EDN sources tell them that Apple has already set the specifications for the smaller tablet, which is scheduled to ship early next year.
iPad mini display panel size is 7.85” and it has the same resolution as the iPad 2.
There is a lot of speculation that iPad Mini is Apple’s response to the cheap 7” Kindle Fire that Amazon launched earlier this month. But I do not think this is a case.
While Steve Jobs dismissed 7” tablets in Apple’s earnings conference call a year ago, it does not mean much. Steve has been known to publicly deny and dismiss a lot of products until Apple was ready to launch them. E.g.video iPod or even the idea of tablet PC itself.
A smaller 7-8” iPad does have a lot of merit in and of itself. In addition to being cheaper due to smaller display panel size, it will be a much more portable device, easier to carry around, which could make it attractive to a whole new set of customers.
And while Apple seems to have found a sweet spot, “one size fits all” form factor for the iPhone, and has no immediate plans to change that, tablets are a very different category of device. It is a completely new and uncharted market, with a lot of room to explore an additional device sizes and form factors.
Broadening a product range with a cheaper, smaller and more portable tablet should help Apple maintain the market dominance it enjoys now, even longer.