iPad Mini arriving by year's end?

The iPad's 9.7" Retina display is great for watching video, playing games or browsing the web, but sometimes it can feel a little too big. It's not always super-comfortable for reading in bed, for instance. And the iPad isn't always quite as portable as it could be.

If the buzz around 7" Android-based tablets like the Kindle Fire or the new Nexus 7 has you thinking you might like something a little smaller than your iPad (but you don't want to leave iOS behind) you'll be interested to hear the reports saying a smaller iPad is coming before the end of 2012.

Both Bloomberg and The Wall Street Journal have run stories on what is coming to be known as "the iPad Mini" but neither offers a ton of details. The screen size would be "smaller than eight inches" according to the WSJ. Bloomberg says "a screen that’s 7 inches to 8 inches diagonally" but that it "won’t have the high-definition screen featured on the iPad that was released in March." (Daring Fireball has an interesting theory around that; basically saying the iPad Mini will have the same resolution as the iPad 1 & 2 which should minimize screen-size fragmentation.)

And that's pretty much all we know so far. Those of us with long memories may recall Steve Jobs saying 7" tablets were 'dead on arrival' but if you check the full quote, he said "the current crop" of 7" tablets were DOA. Perhaps Apple is confident it has licked the issues with smaller tablets which seemed to include their price point. Could that mean an iPad Mini could compete on price with $200 Android tablets? Can you imagine what a hot item a $200 iPad Mini would be?

Or perhaps it's simply that the market has changed, Apple has noted that there is a demand for smaller tablets and they're unwilling to cede that segment of the market to their competitors.

Read more of Peter Smith's TechnoFile blog and follow the latest IT news at ITworld. Follow Peter on Twitter at @pasmith. For the latest IT news, analysis and how-tos, follow ITworld on Twitter and Facebook.

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