Paul has historically been opposed to posting rumors of new hardware here, which is why I’ve held off on discussing this until now, but the weight of the reports coming in seems to suggest there may be more than mere rumor at work. Sources as diverse as John Gruber, a Chinese news site, Bloomberg, and the Wall Street Journal are suggesting that Apple is prepping a 7.85”, 1024×768 iPad for release later this year to compete directly with Amazon, Kindle, Google, Microsoft, and everyone else with a 7” device ready or in the offing.
The plan has a number of things in its favor. For one thing, the resolution is the same as the first-generation 10” iPad, meaning that Apple won’t have to figure out how to support yet another resolution; if the program will work on an iPad 1, it’ll work on an iPad Mini. Gruber also points out that Apple can use its existing iPhone 3GS display assembly line and just cut the screens to a different size, meaning it could save money on the manufacture by using already-existing technology, and turn a profit at the $199 price point at which its competitors are either losing money or breaking even.
Would such a pad cannibalize sales of the full-sized iPad? Or would it bring Apple to a market full of people who’d like Apple craftsmanship and software but can’t afford to pay full Apple price? Is it even in the offing, or is it just another one of those mysterious (yet oddly well-endorsed) rumors that ends up going nowhere?
Either way, we’ll find out within just a few months.
(Found via Slashdot.)