Apple Is Reportedly Planning To Make A Big Change To The iPad: Here's Everything You Need To Know

ipad mini 7 inch

Photo: Federico Ciccarese, Ciccarese Design

The Apple TV isn’t the only new product that the company is rumoured to be coming out with in the near future.Several reports have come out in recent months suggesting that Apple will release a smaller version of the iPad to maintain its grip on the tablet market in the face of competition from Amazon’s Kindle Fire and Samsung’s Galaxy Tab.

Release Date: Sometime this fall.

Barclays analysts released a report earlier this month predicting that Apple will come out with an iPad Mini sometime this fall. Barclays reasoned that releasing a smaller iPad will help Apple in the education and gaming markets. A separate report from Liberty Times, a Taiwanese publication, puts the release date in the third or fourth quarter of this year.

The iPad Mini's screen will be 7.85 inches, about 2 inches smaller than the current iPad.

The Barclays report estimated that the new iPad Mini would be in the 7-inch range, but other reports have come up with a more precise number. Both iMore.com and John Gruber--two sources with a good track record on Apple rumours--reported hearing from their sources that the iPad Mini would be 7.85 inches.

Price: Between $200-$250.

According to iMore's source, the iPad Mini will retail for between $200-$250. At this price, it would compete head on against cheaper tablets like the Kindle Fire, which is priced at $199. This would also make the iPad Mini less than half the cost of the most recent iPad.

The iPad Mini will have 8 GB of storage.

iMore also reports hearing that the iPad Mini will have 8 GB of storage. That's the same amount of storage that comes built into the Kindle Fire and the Nook Tablet. It's unclear yet whether Apple will offer other models with more storage for more money.

It will have a Retina Display screen with a resolution of 2048X1536.

According to iMore's sources, the iPad Mini's screen will have Retina Display with a resolution of 2048X153, just like the current iPad model.

DigiTimes reports hearing from its supply chain sources that Apple will use a new thin film touch technology, which will make the iPad slimmer and, according to the publication, 'more transparent' than the current model. We have no idea what that latter part means.

Apple has already approved two manufacturers to produce LCD screens for the device.

The Liberty Times says it has heard rumours that LG and AU Electronics have been certified to produce LCD panels for the iPad Mini. Moreover, the paper says that two other companies--TPK Holding and Chimei Innolux--are working to produce backlight modules for the device.

Meanwhile, Foxconn is rumoured to be building a new plant to manufacture the iPad Minis.

In a different report, DigiTimes said it had heard Apple's Chinese manufacturing partner Foxconn is building new 'specialised plants' to assemble the iPad Mini (as well as the next iPhone).

Apple is planning to ship 6 million iPad minis by the end of this year.

Liberty Times also reports hearing that manufacturers are gearing up to ship 6 million iPad Minis by the end of the year. NetEase, a Chinese publication, reported hearing the same number back in April. That might sound like a lot, but keep in mind that Apple reportedly shipped 13.6 million iPads in the first quarter of 2012.

In the meantime, there's plenty of other Apple products coming out soon that you can get excited about...

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