Tomorrow’s the big day, part two, for Apple. The company is holding another major press conference following their iPhone 5 reveal last month, and this one is expected to out the almost equally long-rumored iPad Mini. The Mini is expected to compete with the 7” class of tablets, most notably the Kindle Fire and the Google Nexus 7.
The iPad Mini (unconfirmed name) is thought by many to have a slightly bigger screen than its competitors, at 7.85”. The 7.85” rumor stems from the fact that, at that size, the iPad Mini could run apps designed for the iPad without any need for developers to make any changes to the apps. A thin bezel will keep the tablet from being too big – after all, ease of portability is a big selling point among this class of tablets. Inside and outside, it sounds like the iPad Mini will be the iPad 2 in a smaller frame – MacRumors is reporting that the iPad Mini will run on an A5 chip and 512 MB of RAM, with a 1024 x 768 resolution display.
The iPad Mini is also expected to be thinner than the iPad, in line with the perceived goal of keeping the device as portable as possible. Most expect that the iPad Mini will come in 3G and Wi-Fi models. Popular guesses as to price put the base Wi-Fi model at $329, with price increases of $100 for higher capacities, and price increases of $130 for higher capacities with 3G. Those prices wouldn’t be competitive with the prices of the Nexus 7 or Kindle Fire by any stretch of the imagination, but then again, when has Apple ever competed on price? The $329 price also makes sense in that a sub-$300 price tag would be a surprise – it would undercut the new iPod Touch, and could threaten sales of that device. Instead, the new iPad Mini would essentially replace the iPad 2.
Because content has been such a huge focus for the Kindle Fire and Nexus 7, you can expect Apple to focus heavily on their content offerings during the presentation, as well. The iTunes update was well covered during September’s presentation, so it’s a good possibility we’ll be seeing a lot of iBooks, though it’s hard to say how Apple will make that particularly compelling in the face of Amazon’s juggernaut of a store. But, who knows? Maybe Apple saved all their surprises for this presentation. We’ll have to wait until tomorrow to see.