updated 07:40 am EDT, Thu April 8, 2010
Mini iPad would target reading first
Apple is planning a smaller version of the iPad for early 2011, a surprise rumor claimed today. Checks with "upstream component sources" have a device between 5 and 7 inches in the works that would target those who primarily want to read and don't care as much about typing. It would fall below $400, the DigiTimes insider said.
The launch would be significant for Apple as it would more directly challenge the core of the e-reader market. The Kindle, Nook, Sony Reader and newcomers like the Kobo eReader almost always have six-inch displays. While most of these could be much less expensive as they currently cost $259 or less, Apple may repeat the strategy used for the 9.7-inch iPad by counting on a much more advanced and general-purpose device to lure buyers.
Regardless of the existence of the smaller model, an analyst at the Taiwan publication doesn't expect the HP slate to provide a serious challenge to the iPad as its choice of an aging Atom processor will significantly cut down the battery life. Apple's custom ARM chip gives it 10 hours or more of real battery life where the HP slate is believed to get just 5 hours at best.