Rumor: iPad mini with 7.85 inch Sharp IGZO screen to come out this fall for $299

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Google’s new tablet, the Nexus 7, goes for $199. That means you can buy two of them for the same price as a second generation iPad. Does Apple see the smaller 7 inch tablet form factor as a threat? They’ll never admit to it, but there are reports flying around the internets that the answer is yes. So what’s going to be Apple’s response to devices like the Kindle Fire and the Nexus 7? Their own tiny tablet, which from here on out we’ll call the iPad mini.

We’ve been covering the iPad mini since October 2011. Back then we heard that LG Display and AU Optronics were supplying Apple with 7.85 inch LCD panels. Earlier this year, in February, the guys and gals at The Wall Street Journal were told that Apple’s suppliers have “shown them screen designs for a new device with a screen size of around 8-inches”. Today the Chinese site MyDrivers is saying that the iPad mini is not only real, but that the 7.85 inch screen size is guaranteed, said screen will use Sharp’s IGZO technology, and that we should see the iPad mini hit the market “this fall” for between $249 and $299.

As always, take these rumors with an incredible mountain of salt. We think there’s something to the iPad mini however because Apple’s affordable iOS device, the iPod touch, hasn’t been updated since September 2010! We’re not going to suggest that Apple is going to kill the iPod touch, but it would make a lot of sense to give people willing to spend $200 to $300 on a media device a choice between different form factors. Apple famously did that back in 2005 when they introduced the iPod nano. It cost the same as the iPod mini, had less storage, but it was incredibly smaller. Eventually the iPod mini died.

What do you think, is the iPad mini a real thing?

[Via: Unwired View]

Update: The folks at Bloomberg are confirming this rumor, which says a lot. They don’t publish rumors unless they’re pretty sure they’re legit.

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