DigiTimes, after briefly boosting their credibility with me in their last report, has managed to blow it and is now reporting that Apple’s manufacturing partners are delivering samples of a 7.85-inch iPad to Apple ahead of mass production that would begin, at the earliest, in the third quarter of this year.
The report goes on to note that this device would sell in the $249-$299 price range, with the rumored 8GB iPad 2 selling for $349-399, a 16GB iPad 2 selling for $449, and of course the iPad 3 selling in the usual $499+ price ranges.
To me, the “iPad mini” is one of those rumors that will not die until it actually happens. Kinda like the Beatles coming to iTunes. That rumor had stewed amongst pundits for years before it actually happened. Just because Apple is receiving samples does not mean it is now, or soon to be, in mass production.
The exception here as compared to the Beatles rumor, is that I do not believe Apple will bring a smaller iPad to market. Never say never– but to me, it makes no sense to. The iPhone and iPod touch are on the (physically, not financially) small end of the market while the iPad is at the large end. Besides, Apple will soon be selling more iPads than iPhones, which suggests to me, consumers are happy with the size of the device.
Also, this DigiTimes post reports a far more convoluted pricing scheme than what I believe Apple would introduce. If this is indeed Apple’s plans for the iPad going forward, I believe the pricing scheme would look more like this:
7.85-inch iPad $299
8GB iPad 2 $399
iPad 3 $499 and up.
Again, this would be if Apple actually introduces a 7.85-inch (or whatever size the rumor mill decides this week) iPad, and is purely speculation on my part. Apple has traditionally chosen to keep pricing schemes simple. The report from DigiTimes suggests something to the opposite effect.