July 7, 2012 at 3:40 PM ET
Right after both the Wall Street Journal and Bloomberg claimed that Apple will soon be launching a smaller, cheaper iPad, at least one new report popped up to lend support to the notion that such a device is in the works.
A post on the Japanese blog — which has a hit-and-miss record when it comes to Apple rumors — explains that "reliable sources" say that "the tablet called iPad Mini" will hit production lines in September and is expected to start shipping just in time for the holiday season (which is a bit behind the fall launch date reported by Bloomberg).
Why mention this new rumor at all? Because with so much chatter swirling about a smaller iPad and the clear market advantage for an iPad that can compete with Amazon's Kindle Fire and Google's Nexus 7 — both powered by Android — it seems very probable that Apple is considering the form factor.
On the other hand, I feel obligated to — once again — call attention to the fact that, during an earnings call in Oct. 2010, late Apple co-founder Steve Jobs stated that he didn't think that it's possible to make a great 7-inch tablet. A 9.7-inch device such as the current iPad is "the minimum size required to create great tablet apps," he said.
According to the Macotakara report, the new iPad will supposedly have the same height as the Nexus 7 — which is about 7.81 inches, for reference — but a smaller width. It will supposedly be about as thin as the fourth-generation iPod Touch — 0.28 inches, according to Apple's website — and slimmer than the Kindle Fire. According to the Macotakara, there will also be a 3G-enabled version of the device.
Process this latest batch of iPad rumors however you will, but keep in mind that, more often than not, "a rumor's not a rumor that doesn't die."
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