The iPad Mini: Everything We Think We Know So Far [Rumor Roundup]

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Has Apple been running Instapaper on the iPad mini?
Cult of Mac lays it all out: what you can expect for the new iPad mini.

The price will be significantly lower

Obviously, if Apple is competing with already lower-priced tablets like the Amazon Fire and the Google Nexus 7, their smaller form-factor iPad will need to compete on price. Or, at least, be in the same ballpark. According to many people familiar with the matter and echoed across many rumor and harder news websites, the iPad mini will most likely come in at a $249 starting price point, with higher-end models with more memory costing more.

Considering the entire line of potential iPads, you’ll have the $249 iPad mini, the $399 iPad 2 and the $499 new iPad, which mirrors the way the other Apple product lines are positioned, with high, medium, and lower end pricing structures.

It Will Have Wi-Fi and LTE Models

But the LTE model will cost you an extra $100. You’ll be able to get the 8G iPad mini with Wi-Fi only in black or white for $249, the 16G Wi-Fi model in either color for $349, a 32G model for $449, and the 64G version for $549. Adding LTE cellular data bumps the price up to $549 for the 32G model, and $649 for the 64G model. There don’t seem to be any 8G or 16G models with LTE planned.

Apple has been working on this for a long time

The iPad as a concept has been on Apple’s (kitchen) table for quite some time now, like 2002 or 2004, according to some reports. The first prototype looked a lot like a then-current generation iBook, with rounded white plastic corners and a 12-inch screen.

“I believe there will be a 7-inch market and we should do one.”

Apple started prototyping a 7-8-inch iPad back in the mid-2000s, according to some reports. Steve Jobs “thought the device was too small and wondered aloud what it was good for “besides surfing the Web in the bathroom,”’ according to the report. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, mind you.

Heck, even Eddy Cue, Apple’s SVP of Internet Software and services, wanted a smaller iPad. He even wrote an email to his bosses saying as much:

Having used a Samsung Galaxy [Tab], i tend to agree with many of the comments below… I believe there will be a 7-inch market and we should do one. I expressed this to Steve several times since Thanksgiving and he seemed very receptive the last time.

It will be thinner, and use the Lightning connector

According to some reports, the iPad Mini will be as thin as the iPod touch 4G, giving the tablet a thickness of only 7.2mm. That’s a nice decrease from the third-gen iPad’s 9.4mm thickness, and would also make the new device thinner than the current Kindle Fire.

The new iPad mini will also take advantage of Cupertino’s new, smaller Lightning dock connector. A smaller connector means a smaller, thinner device, but it also will make all those accessories immediately obsolete.

It will run iOS 6

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iOS 6 features over 200 improvements, including a totally new Maps app, enhanced Siri features, Facebook integration, and more. It’s a shoe-in for inclusion on the new iPad mini.

It will probably have a camera

Interestingly, not much has been mentioned about specifics like whether or not this thing will have a camera. While it seems silly not to have one in this day and age (everyone and their offspring uses their iPhone and iPad to snap photos and take videos), it may make sense not to have one as well, to keep costs down.

Every kid will want (and probably get) an iPad mini this holiday season

As Cult of Mac columnist Mike Elgan says, “Still, the majority of American children don’t have iPads, or even have access to iPads. The upcoming mini iPad will change that.” Over half the kids in the US have access to an iPad already; even Apple has retired iMacs from the kid table at its retail stores in favor of the magical device. An iPad at an attractive, holiday-sized price point? Even more magical.

Apple’s betting on this, as well, with a rumored 10 million iPad minis ordered from manufacturers in China. One analyst even thinks that Apple will stop making the iPad 2.

We’ll be updating this rumor roundup with more juicy tidbits as they surface leading up to Apple’s media event in October. Bookmark this article and check back for updates in the weeks to come!