While numerous rumors have suggested Apple would launch a smaller version of its best-selling iPad, we’ve simply never had a hint from Apple that it’s something they’d like to pursue. Now, Bloomberg is reporting that two unnamed sources with “knowledge of [Apple's] plans” say the company will launch a cheaper 7″ iPad this year.
Bloomberg’s sources say the 7″ iPad will feature a non-Retina 1,024×768 display, presumably to cut down cost of the device. No additional details of the device were provided by the sources, but we could guess that it will be WiFi/Bluetooth capable and offer the standard iPad features, such as a front-facing camera. Other analysts speculate that the rumored “iPad mini” could feature a 7.85-inch IGZO display from Sharp.
According to the report’s anonymous supply chain sources, the iPad mini will carry roughly the same thickness as the iPad 2, with Apple using Sharp’s indium gallium zinc oxide (IGZO) technology to create a thinner and brighter display.
With regards to pricing, it’s speculated Apple would price the smaller iPad around $200 dollars in order to compete with similar tablets such as Amazon’s Kindle Fire and the Google Nexus 7.
While Apple had scoffed at the notion of building a smaller iPad, new competition from Microsoft’s Surface and Google’s Nexus 7 may force Apple to reconsider the option of a smaller, less expensive iPad that would help Apple maintain its dominance in the tablet market.