The iPad mini is not a figment of the our imaginations, according to John Gruber of Daring Fireball. Gruber reported that a 7.85-inch version of the iPad does exist in a Apple lab somewhere.
"What I do know is that they [Apple] have one in the lab…a 7.85-inch iPad that runs at 1024×768... it’s just like the regular iPad shrunk down a bit,” Gruber said on episode #86 of The Talk Show. “I’ve heard from multiple people that this is something that they’re kind of noodling with.”
While this confirms a lot of rumors coming from the supply chain, it doesn't mean that Apple is planning on releasing a smaller tablet anytime soon, if ever. There have been many leaked Apple prototypes in the past that have never seen the light of day. Apple is known for taking a long time to develop products, so the iPad mini could see many incarnations before it's even considered for a release.
An official from Samsung told the Korea Times that Apple is planning to buy around $11 billion in parts from the Korea-based supplier in 2012. Part of the deal will include components for the rumored iPad mini. The unnamed Samsung employee said their deal with Apple is expected to increase from around $9.7 billion to $11 billion when Apple releases a smaller iPad at the end of the year.
A source in the supply chain told the DigiTimes on Monday that Pegatron Technology has been chosen to assemble the iPad mini instead of Foxconn. The same source said that the iPad mini will not feature the same Retina display technology as the iPad 3, but will most likely feature IPS/FFS panels manufactured by LG Display and AU Optronics.
It looks like the iPad mini rumors may never die. The latest rumblings from the supply chain (via DigiTimes) suggests that Apple will increase the viewing area of the mythical 7.85-inch iPad by featuring a slimmer bezel.
According to an earlier DigiTimes report, Apple has chosen to give the assembly contract to Pegatron Technology instead of Foxconn, which was the company that manufactured the iPad 2. If the DigiTimes' sources are correct, the iPad mini will not feature the same Retina quality display as the iPad 3, but will most likely feature IPS/FFS panels from LG Display and AU Optronics.
Pocket-lint slipped in one more iPad 3 rumor before Apple's big announcement today at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco. The blog claims they have all but confirmed that the iPad 3 will contain a new haptic display technology created by Senseg.
The advanced technology called E-Sense will turn the iPad 3's rumored 2048-by-1536 Retina display into a "feel screen" by giving objects texture when touched. This would give playing games or reading books a hole new dimension that we've never experienced before.
The iPad mini sounds like a knock off product or cheap imitation of the iPad, however according to supply chain mag DigiTimes displays for the rumored device have already been ordered. Apple has placed the 7.85-inch LCD panel orders with AU Optronics and LG Display.
Forhouse, an affiliate of AU Optronics is said to be making matching backlight units for the smaller iPad screen. DigiTimes didn't stop there, with the report also explaining that the assembly contract for the iPad mini will go to Pegatron Technology, not Foxconn, the current producer of the iPad 2. The report follows several back and forth rumors over Apple's plans for a smaller tablet, or lack thereof.
The iPad 3 has a home button! This is according to Repair Labs, which has acquired an iPad 3 digitizer and bezel. The part is pictured below in both black and white. According to this leak, the home button is exactly the same as the previous two iPad models.
After the Apple press event invite was circulated, some speculated that the home button would become a thing of the past. The photo on the invite did not depict a home button, however no other evidence pointed to Apple scrapping the design feature.
According to a chart posted on the Chinese microblogging site Sina Weibo, the iPad 3 will cost around $80 more than the iPad 2. "The headings are labeled left to right: 'Apple iPad Model', 'iPad 2 US Price', 'iPad 3 US Price', 'iPad 3 RMB equivalent price', explained MacRumors who discovered the price comparisons. The chart lists the iPad 3 WiFi models as $80 more than the iPad 2, and $70 more for the same 3G models.
It's believed that Apple will keep the iPad 2 around at a lower price point to offer a cheaper alternative like they did with iPhone 3GS. The iPad 2 and accessories are already seeing price cuts from retailers like Best Buy, who is currently offering the 16GB WiFi model for $450.
It looks like everyone and their brother has gotten their hands on an iPad 3 part of some kind. MICGadget has done a great job of collecting all the purported leaked photographs, and they even added a few of their own iPad 3 shell snapshots. If real the images reveal that the iPad 3 will be a little thicker than the iPad 2, but it also features tapered edges that will possibly make it feel thinner. The second photo shows that the iPad 3 has a larger lens for its rumored improved camera.
An unnamed source also told MICGadget that the iPad 3 will feature volume buttons, a 9.7 inch 2048 × 1536 Retina display and a "possible" quad-core A6 processor. There have been conflicting reports about the iPad 3's chip. It's still unkown if it will be quad-core or only dual-core, but it will most likely be more powerful than its predecessor.
While most leaked iPad component photos come as no surprise, those looking forward to the next generation Apple tablet were thrown for a loop when the A5X was discovered. Until now, reports pointed to a quad-core A6 processor in the iPad 3. If the A5X actually ships inside the next iPad, what do we already know?
The jump from the A4 system on a chip (SOC) to the A5 SOC was noted by a jump in the processor codes used by Apple. The A4 was S5L8930X, while the A5 added 10 to this number: S5L8940X. The A5X label only jumps 5 digits to S5L8945X, implying the chip is a more modest improvement over its predecessor.
Some would say the cameras on the iPad 2 could be improved by shutting them off. When Apple launched the original iPad, much speculation surrounded the question of whether or not a front-facing camera would make its way into the device. In an apparent last-minute design change Apple did not ship the first generation iPad with a camera at all.
The iPad 2 has two cameras, however despite the ability of the rear camera to record HD video, the quality of the still photos pales in comparison to other iOS devices including the iPhone 4 and iPhone 4S. Some have complained about the awkward shape of the iPad 2 for taking photographs and the low resolution of the images. So what's next for Apple's tablet in the camera department?