Tom Warren of The Verge has dusted off the old Xbox Surface rumor by claiming Microsoft is working on its own 7-inch gaming tablet to compete with the iPad mini and other portable gaming consoles. Warren said "multiple sources familiar with plans within Redmond" have confirmed earlier leaked specs were accurate, and the Xbox Surface will run a custom Windows kernel. The new device will also feature a custom ARM processor and high-bandwidth RAM suited for playing games.
According to Warren's sources, Microsoft will develop the Xbox Surface in-house while any future "Xbox 720" console will be handled by outside companies like Pegatron or Foxconn.
"We've learned that part of the Xbox Surface is being developed at Microsoft's offices in Silicon Valley. The software giant recently locked down several Xbox-related buildings, limiting employee access to the company's Interactive Entertainment Business division. The lock down is likely related to Microsoft's increased testing of the tablet, providing a way for other parts of the Xbox team to build games and software for the device. Providing the project doesn't get killed in favor of a full 7-inch Windows tablet, in the same way Microsoft axed Courier, expect to see the Xbox Surface debut ahead of Microsoft's future Xbox console."
Many Apple fans were shocked by the $329 iPad mini price tag. Mostly because analysts predicted Apple would price the new tablet around $250 to $300 in order to compete with the Amazon Kindle Fire HD and Google Nexus 7. Phil Schiller defended the $329 price claiming shoppers will pay a little more for quality.
"The iPad is far and away the most successful product in its category. The most affordable product we've made so far was $399 and people were choosing that over those devices," Schiller told Reuters
But why did Apple really price the iPad mini higher than all the other 7-inch Android tablets on the market? According to the DigiTimes, the markup had nothing to do with "quality", but had to do with problems manufacturing the touch screen.
Is it time to say goodbye to the iPad 2? Rob Cihra, analyst with Evercore Partners thinks so. Cihra told investors Apple will most likely discontinue the second-generation tablet after announcing the iPad mini on October 23.
According to Cihra, Apple's goal is to offer "clearer product tiers", meaning the iPad mini will replace the iPad 2 as the lower tier entry product of the iPad lineup. If true, Apple will be replacing the $400 iPad 2 with a more affordable $300 to $350 smaller tablet. This has most analysts calling the iPad mini the "competition’s worst nightmare.
An October iPad mini announcement is looking better and better. The reliable and well-connected Jim Dalrymple confirmed John Paczkowski's earlier rumor which claimed Apple will hold a second fall product event to be held on October 23.
On Saturday, Reuters became the first major news outlet to reaffirm the October 23rd rumor. In an article titled "Apple to host October 23 event, iPad mini expected", Reuters cites another "source familiar with the matter", who verified Apple will hold an event on October 23, but declined to specify what for.
Apple fans and tech bloggers are still wondering what happened to the iPad mini event invites Apple was rumored to be shipping out on October 10th. Low yield rates of the tablet’s black aluminum chassis, and stricter quality requirements for all new iOS devices are the rumored causes for the delay. However, the reliable John Paczkowski from All Things D claims Apple is still going forward with a second fall product event to be held on October 23.
"People familiar with Apple’s plans tell us that the company will unveil the so-called 'iPad mini' on Oct. 23 at an invitation-only event. That’s a Tuesday, not a Wednesday, so this is a bit of a break with recent tradition. It also happens to be just three days prior to the street date for Microsoft’s new Surface tablet. Sources declined to specify where the event is to be held, and I’ve not been able to confirm a location."
It's October 11th, and according to the Apple rumor mill, iPad mini event invites should've already been sent out and arrived on Wednesday. However, the mythical Apple tablet seems to be missing in action. Is the long rumored device just a rumor, or is something else holding up Apple's 7-inch tablet?
Apple’s upcoming iPad mini and 13-inch MacBook Pro are rumored to be held up by production delays. Foxconn and Pegatron are having a difficult time meeting Apple's large order for iPad mini chassis. According to SlashGear, the "rumored 13-inch MacBook Pro with Retina display is also said to be affected by the delay as well."
Sources in Apple’s supply chain in Taiwan are reporting slow iPad mini shipments due to the low yield rates of the tablet’s aluminum chassis. According to the Digitimes, the critical anodized finish process for the black aluminum chassis is slowing down progress.
"The iPad mini reportedly will come in native- and black-colored aluminum chassis, which are more vulnerable to scratching, said the sources, adding that the anodized finish process on the black cases is more critical, which often results in lower yield rates."
Purported iPad mini manufacturer Catcher Technology said "its capacity utilization rates as well as yield rates for various products all meet its product roadmap." Meaning if the iPad mini rumor is true, and Catcher is indeed manufacturing iPad chassis, then Apple's demand is being met.
Update via The Wall Street Journal: "Apple Inc.’s Asian component suppliers have started mass production of a new tablet computer smaller than the current iPad." It will feature "a 7.85-inch liquid-crystal display with a lower resolution than the third-generation iPad with a 2,048-by-1,536 pixel Retina display."
It looks like the three-year old iPad mini rumor is finally coming to an end on October 17th, 2012 when Apple is expected to unveil the long awaited device at a special keynote. Press invites for the rumored event are purportedly shipping on October 10th. The "iPad mini" (aka the iPad Nano or iPad Air) is Apple's answer to the popular 7-inch Android tablets such as the Amazon Kindle Fire HD and Google Nexus 7 that have been flooding the market. Here are the rumored specs for Apple's new device:
The iPad mini is expected to be a lot like the 9.7-inch iPad but scaled down to 7.85-inches. It will obviously feature the same 8-pin Lightning dock connector and repositioned headphone jack (mind blown) as the iPhone 5 to conserve space. The front bezel is also rumored to be smaller, and it will most likely sport the same thin profile as the latest iPod touch.
We know one thing for sure, Apple is going to announce the sixth-generation iPhone tomorrow, September 12, at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts at 10:00 am. What we don't know is what the new iPhone will be called, and if Apple will also announce the rumored iPad mini or new iPod touch. Here's what we think we know: Judging from the press invite (below) Apple will call the new device the "iPhone 5", not the "new iPhone" like it did with the third-generation iPad. Several reliable sources claim Apple will hold a special iPad mini event a few weeks after tomorrow's announcement, but they will announce a new iPod alongside the iPhone 5.
The new iPod is expected to feature a 4-inch display with a resolution of 1136 x 640, and a more powerful A5 processor. The iPhone is rumored to be 2mm thinner than the iPhone 4S, and to also feature a 4-inch screen. It's unclear if the phone will be powered by a new A6 chip, or the same A5X processor found in the iPad 3. All three devices, and all future Apple products, will feature new smaller dock connectors. Apple will reportedly sell their own branded adapters individually for $10, or three for $29. The iPhone 5 should also be 4G LTE compatible in the US, Canada and in parts of Asia and Europe as well.
The iPhone 5 may be the most anticipated iPhone since Apple originally launched the line in 2007, but the iPad mini is definitely the most intriguing Apple device rumored to be launching in 2012. iPad mini rumors are as old as the original iPad, and they have been ramping up ever since Apple released the "new iPad" earlier this year. Most Apple blogs and analysts believe Apple will enter the 7-inch market in 2012 when they announce a smaller iPad either along side the iPhone 5, or at a separate event in September. As usual case makers have jumped on the rumor mill bandwagon and have been developing physical mockups of the rumored tablet at a record pace.
The latest iPad mockup comes from TaoBao.com. The iPad pictured above features skinnier side bezels, a smaller dock connector and a SIM-card slot suggesting Wi-Fi and cellular versions will be available. The design seems to follow earlier reports claiming Apple will shrink the size of its 30-pin dock connector to 8 or 19-pins for all iOS devices starting with the iPhone 5. Purported leaked iPad mini schematics also show that it will be 7.2mm thin and feature a 5.3-inch wide and 7.87-inch long display.