iOS developer Marco Arment has discovered two new iPads — believed to be two iterations of the upcoming iPad mini — in his Instapaper developer logs. The devices have the “iPad2,5″ and “iPad2,6″ model numbers, according to their operating system, which haven’t been seen before, and could point to Wi-Fi and Wi-Fi + cellular versions of the device.
While Arment notes that these model numbers could have been faked by a jailbreak tweak, he insists that he has “never had a device show up there that didn’t end up being a real, about-to-be-released Apple device.” He’s quite confident, then, that this is indeed Apple’s upcoming iPad mini.
What isn’t quite clear right now, however, is what these iterations point to. While they could point to GSM and CDMA versions of the device, Arment believes this is unlikely:
The iPad2,5 and iPad2,6 could be boring: GSM and CDMA versions of the die-shrunk iPad 2 so the shrink isn’t only available on the Wi-Fi model, bringing lower costs to the other iPad 2 configurations that are still for sale. But now, even later in its lifecycle, that would be a pretty strange move.
The much more likely explanation is that iPad2,5 and iPad2,6 are the new “iPad Mini” in Wi-Fi and GSM, and I haven’t recorded the likely iPad2,7 CDMA version yet.
If so, this suggests that the iPad Mini is, effectively, an iPad 2: an A5 with 512 MB of RAM and enough GPU power to drive the Gruber Display, but not a Retina Display.
The “Gruber Display” Arment refers to is the same 1024 x 768 display that featured in the iPad 2, shrunk down to fit inside a 7.85-inch device.
As Arnent notes, this approach makes perfect sense. Apple would take the components it has already developed for a previous iPad, then sell them again at a lower price point to expand the iPad’s market share even further. But this isn’t just a cut-price, last-generation iPad. It might feature roughly the same internals, but they’re packed into a new iOS device that is launching for the first time.