September 12th can't come any sooner. That's when the game-changing Apple press event will take place—announcing the iPhone 5 and possibly other products.
Among the potential products is the iPad Mini. As we await news on the future number one item on your Christmas wish-list, CNET threw together a few predictions for the possible next product in the iPad line.
Take a look below and see if you agree:
Compiled & Written By Scott Stein of CNET
1. A 7-inch screen with the same aspect ratio and screen resolution as on the iPad 2:
Rumors say the iPad Mini could end up having a 7.8-inch display, making for a larger tablet than typical 7-inchers. The iPad Mini needs to run iPad apps seamlessly out of the box, and keeping to the iPad 2's 1,024x768-pixel resolution makes the most sense. Depending on the screen size, it shouldn't interfere with the ability to easily use apps. The third-gen iPad's 2,048x1,536-pixel Retina Display is likely to be the key difference between it and the Mini, similar to the difference between the Kindle Fire and Kindle Fire HD.
2. A smaller bezel:
A smaller tablet wouldn't necessarily require the same size bezel to hold it. Mock-ups and rumors (hardly anything to hang your hat on) suggest a design that's more like that of the iPod Touch. The best reference would be other 7-inch tablets, which don't have extra-large bezels.
3. A fall debut...but after the iPhone 5:
Expectations are sky-high for a fall launch of the iPad Mini. My own personal feeling is that yearly iPad debuts make the most sense, but various new iPod lines have been launched midyear and off-schedule in the past. An October launch after iPhone 5 madness has settled is most likely, and would be good timing going up against the October 26 debut of Windows 8.
4. An affordable price:
The perfect target for a smaller iPad would be $299. That price would let it compete directly against tablets like the Kindle Fire HD and Google Nexus 7. It would be more expensive, but less than the $399 16GB iPad 2. In standard Apple pricing math, expect the price of the highest-configured iPad Mini to come close to or overlap with the price of the third-gen iPad.
5. A camera:
The iPod Touch has a camera. The iPhone has a camera. Alleged iPad Mini cases have shown a camera, too. We'd expect rear- and front-facing cameras for FaceTime, considering that the ever-more-affordable iPhone 4 includes the same.
6. The absence of a few features seen on the larger iPad:
If the iPad Mini were everything the larger iPad was but smaller and less expensive, who would buy the larger iPad? An iPad Mini will have to satisfy a certain audience while maintaining a different feature set, just like the iPod Nano and Mini did with the larger iPod. Storage capacity could be part of that equation; maybe the iPad Mini doesn't come in a 64GB version. Maybe the smaller screen and lack of a higher-res Retina Display could be enough. It would be hard to believe that the smaller iPad would lack 4G LTE or 3G wireless, but that's a possibility.
7. A smaller dock connector:
It makes complete sense that a new, smaller connector port would debut not only on the next iPhone, but on all iOS devices thereafter. This would give the iPad Mini a feature the third-gen iPad lacks, but it makes total sense: a smaller connector port would help the iPad Mini be even more compact.
8. A use case for the iPad Mini as a second iPad:
There's a question many might ask: why make a smaller iPad? Well, why make a larger Kindle Fire? Why make different iPods? A lower-priced, smaller iPad feels positioned as a secondary iPad, or an iPad best suited for kids. Expect Apple to clearly explain what an iPad Mini is best used for, and why it's a compelling device in its own right.