Apple have invited members of the press and development community to a media event on Tuesday 23rd October, where the company is widely expected to announce a smaller version of the iPad in time for the lucrative Christmas market.
The tagline of the colourful invite – “We’ve got a little more to show you” – seems to suggest a smaller version of something, and that something will of course be their current tablet offering.
Although Apple have typically not responded quickly and directly to demand in the past, many customers are starting to buy smaller tablets such as the Amazon Kindle Fire and Google’s Nexus 7 – and the company’s hold on the market is at real risk. If it acts decisively now, it can stop the rot; the more it waits, the much less chance it’ll have of introducing new customers (and retaining old ones) into the whole ecosystem.
The ‘iPad mini’ is reported to have a 7.85 inch screen, with the same 1024 x 768 non-Retina display found in the iPad 2, simply scaled down. This would mean that apps wouldn’t need to be rewritten for the new device. There’s debate about whether the ‘iPad mini’ will have cellular data access – it’s possible Apple will leave it out on purpose, to force users to spend more money on an iPhone or iPad for this functionality.
There are also rumours that the current 9.7 inch iPad will be updated with a Lightning connector and 4G, although I don’t expect to see this until next March as Apple stores will be busy enough over the coming months.
The event starts at 6PM UK time and I’ll be updating the blog with all the important announcements as soon as it’s finished.