updated 06:00 pm EDT, Fri October 5, 2012
Not likely to be rumored 'iPad mini,' could be 2013 model
Despite the increasing efficiency of leak sources that often tip off sites like this one to forthcoming Apple products, sometimes months in advance, that's not to say that Apple is incapable of pulling off a surprise or keeping secrets. Recent developer logs from an anonymous iOS app developer, which have also shown testing of the alleged "iPad mini" identifiers, has reported a new supposed iPad model not previously seen turning up in app analytics. The mystery iPad appears to be a continuation of the 2012 iPad line, running an A6 chip.
While its possible that the analytics have been faked, or are intentionally misleading (by Apple, in an attempt to hide the actual device being tested), the scant information from the logs offer tantalizing clues as to what exactly the device -- which reports as an "iPad3,6" -- may be. Assuming it is in fact an iPad, it's unlikely to be a version of the "iPad mini" Apple has allegedly been preparing for market this holiday season. Any lower-cost "iPad mini" is likely to use the cheaper A5 or a variant of it, and identifiers of a likely iPad mini (iPad2,5 and iPad2,6) have previously been seen in other web and analytic reports, according to MacRumors.
Some speculation has circulated about an updated "iPad 3" model that sports a Lightning connector and perhaps a version of the new A6 chip, and the mystery device's identifier (iPad3,6) would suggest such a thing, since the various Wi-Fi and cellular versions of the 2012 iPad carry similar identifiers (iPad3,1 for Wi-Fi only, for example). The use of an A6 chip, though, would hint at early testing of the 2013 10-inch iPad (which would be likely to use a "4,1" or similar designation when released). Its also possible that Apple was testing a prototype device not previously speculated on.
The "iPad mini" has been long expected following the revelation in Apple-Samsung court documents that CEO Steve Jobs had been approached by other Apple executives about the possibility of Apple creating a "seven-inch" class of tablet and was eventually persuaded of the viability of such a product. Rumors have often had Apple debuting the device sometime this month (though rumors were also strong for an August launch earlier this year) so that it would be on shelves in time for the busy holiday buying season, but Apple has thus far given no official signal that a new iPad model of any sort is coming soon. Should the iPad mini not appear, a new full-size model of iPad is not expected until the spring. [via MacRumors]