Kotoaku translated the report from Chinese net portal, NetEase, who claim that the smaller iPad, commonly referred to as the ‘iPad mini’, will be released later this year to “counter attack” upcoming Windows tablets.
The report adds that the iPad mini will cost between US$249 to US$299 ($240 to $290) and that Apple is making 6 million units of the device ready for its launch.
NetEase also claim that Foxconn and Pegatron are working together to make the iPad mini for Apple.
This is not the first we’ve heard of a smaller iPad. In early April, Daring Fireball’s John Gruber claimed that Apple is currently testing a prototype of the iPad mini and said that sources had told him that Apple “have one in the lab,” describing it as “just like the 9.7in iPad shrunk down a little bit.”
Earlier in the year, reports surfaced Apple has chosen to use a slim bezel on the iPad in order to maximise the viewing area of the tablet.
Samsung Securities also expects Apple to launch a smaller iPad in the third quarter of 2012, according to a leaked internal document which read: “Following the success of its iPad 1 and iPad 2, which have together achieved sales of 55m units, Apple plans… in Q3 2012 to launch a new 7in product temporarily referred to as the iPad mini.”
The rumours of a 7in iPad continue to be viewed with some scepticism, however, as the late Apple co-founder, Steve Jobs, dismissed the idea: “The 10in screen size is the minimum size required to create great tablet apps. 7in tablets are tweeners: too big to compete with a smartphone and too small to compete with an iPad,” back in October 2010.
However, it is believed that Apple may have been convinced about the smaller form factor following the success of Amazon’s Kindle Fire.