The iPhone 5 is here, but we're already looking past it to the next big Apple release, a 7-inch iPad Mini which Apple is expected to unveil at another special event in October.
For a long time Apple refused to offer smaller tablet, limiting their offerings to a larger 8.9-inch screen iPad. Steve Jobs was even arguing that it would only be useful for "besides surfing the web in the bathroom."
But Steve Jobs is gone, and Apple is starting to lose ground in the tablet marketplace to smaller tablets designed by Google (the Nexus 7) and Amazon (the Kindle Fire). All signs point to an iPad Mini this reveal next month. Here's what we expect he iPad Mini to offer:
Screen Display: Based on leaked images, the iPad Mini will likely sport a 7.8-inch display, making it slightly large than its 7-inch competitors. The iPad Mini should also boast the same 1024 x 768 resolution as he iPad 2; this will make it a desirable tablet without overshadowing the third generation "New iPad" and cannibalizing Apple's tablet sales. It's unclear if the iPad Mini will feature the same Retina Display screen Apple installed on the latest iPad and MacBook Pro, but we wouldn't be on it.
Thinner Frame: A redesigned, smaller bezel is particularly likely. Apple's designers will want the iPad Mini too have as much display real estate as possible given its shrunken dimensions. This argument is strengthened by the fact that most current 7-inch tablets feature thin bezels.
Release Date In Time For Holiday Shopping: Apple's favorite time of year is Christmas, since the holiday shopping season always boosts sales of their luxury electronic devices. On the other hand, Apple won't want to overshadow the iPhone 5, which was just unveiled this week. An October release date makes sense, positioning Apple for record sales this Winter.
Cheaper Than The Average iPad: To compete with other 7-inch tablets, Apple will likely price the iPad Mini somewhere between $199 and $299 (we'd guess around $250). The iPad Mini will definitely be cheaper than the current $399 iPad, but it will likely be more expensive than the Amazon Kindle Fire or the Google Nexus 7. However, Apple likely believes I can charge a bit more thanks to the company's focus on luxury design and intuitive user interface software.
How Many Cameras? Expect to see two cameras on the iPad Mini (one on the front and one on the rear). iPad Mini cases based on leaked parts are already showing multiple cameras
Smaller Dock Connector: Apple unveiled their new, smalled dock connector, called Lightning, ealier this week when the unveiled the iPhone 5. Expect the Lightning port two become the norm for Apple in the next few years. This new dock connector has a lot of advantages, and its size lets Apple design even thinner and sleeker devices, but there is one big drawback. Old accessories won't work with the new iPhone 5 without an adapter (which Apple is selling for $30 a pop). There's every reason to believe that the iPad Mini will feature the same redesigned dock connector as the iPhone 5.
Apple has yet to confirm the iPad Mini, but all signs suggest that this 7-inch tablet will hit the market his fall.