We have yet another rumor regarding a 7-inch iPad today, but this time coming from a much more credible source in Rene Ritchie for iMore. The report, citing a so-called “reliable source,” says that Apple is moving forward with the launch of its 7-inch iPad, which is targeted for release in October 2012 and will cost just $200 to $250. Ritchie notes that he says 7-inches generically, since he has not determined the exact screen dimensions that the smaller iPad will have. Past rumors have suggested that Apple has a 7.85-inch iPad in its labs for testing.
Asides from the smaller display, this new iPad is said to be exactly the same as the current 9.7-inch iPad. That even includes the 2,048-by-1,536 pixels resolution Retina display of the third-generation iPad on a 7-inch screen, putting the pixel density at around 326 ppi, the same as the iPhone 4S. To compensate for the lower price, however, Apple will offer the 7-inch iPad in smaller capacities. For instance, the $200 to $250 price target will get you the 8 GB model.
Ritchie claims that the reason Apple will be offering this smaller iPad for such a low price is to get rid of its competition at all levels in the tablet market. Amazon has experienced relative success with the Kindle Fire tablet, mostly because of its attractive $199 price tag. But with an iPad available in the same price range, Apple might easily divert potential Kindle Fire purchases towards their own tablet.
The report adds that the iPod touch will not be going away, despite the fact that the 7-inch iPad would cost the same as the base model iPod touch. It will be interesting to see what price adjustments Apple makes to the iPod touch, however, especially with sales of the iPod lineup in general declining over the past few years. Apple will have do to something, since the 7-inch iPad is said not to be a replacement for the iPod touch.
iMore has a proven track record with Apple rumors, having accurately reported the launch date of the new iPad with LTE capabilities.