However, the iPad mini is starting to look a bit more interesting. Over the weekend several blogs reported that the baby iPad will not launch alongside the sixth generation iPhone and iOS 6. It will apparently get its own launch event in the second week of October, so it should be on the market in time to take on Windows RT tablets and end up on many holiday shopping lists.
Details are sketchy and aside from the 7.85-inch screen size, we still don’t have a clear picture of what to expect. Jeffries analyst Peter Misek believes the iPad mini is already in production and that Apple will manage to ship at least 8 million units by the end of the year. This would put it on a par with expected Nexus 7 shipments and probably ahead of Microsoft’s Surface tablet. Analyst Amit Daryanani reckons Apple will manage to shift as many as 40 million iPad minis in the first year of sales.
With the runaway success of the 9.7-inch iPad, it is hard not to be optimistic, but on the other hand we can’t but wonder whether the mini will cannibalize 9.7-inch iPad sales. There is no doubt that it will complement and perhaps even replace the $399 iPad 2 at some point.
In terms of design, some punters believe the iPad mini will feature a very small vertical bezel, so it will look more like an oversized iPhone or iPod touch than a proper iPad. At 7.85 inches, in 4:3 aspect ratio, the iPad mini will have about 40 percent more screen real estate than the Nexus 7. However, it is expected to feature a 1024x768 screen, so it will end up with somewhat lower pixel density than the Nexus.