'Mini' iPad 3 and a 'cheap' iPad 2 - Don't bet on it

Oh, where to begin the debunking?
Written by Adrian Kingsley-Hughes, Senior Contributing Editor

With the expected unveiling of the iPad 3 less than a week away, it is now silly season for iPad-related rumors and nonsense.

The pick of the crop today comes to us via Digitimes.

Oh, where to begin the debunking?

We can just dismiss the 7.85-inch iPad story straight away with just pure logic. Why would Apple make an iPad that's less than two inches smaller than the current offering? That just doesn't make any sense. A 7-inch tablet would make some sense (since it would complete directly with Amazon's Kindle Fire). But even that doesn't make much sense given that small tablets are not for everyone, because the user interface elements are too small and content isn't optimized for a screen that's bigger than a smartphone yet smaller than the iPad.

Also, can someone please tell me what's so special about 7.85 inches?

OK, but what about the 8GB iPad 2 rumor? After all, Apple's had quite good success with selling the older version of the iPhone at a cheaper price. But there's one thing that Digitimes (or its source) didn't factor into the equation, and that is that the older versions of the iPhone are only cheap because the carriers subsidize them.

An unsubsidized iPhone 4 still costs $549, but if you buy it from AT&T, Sprint or Verizon, it costs you $99. The same is true of the ‘free' iPhone 3GS. Buy that one from AT&T and it is $0, but buy an unlocked one and you'll pay $375.

Unless Apple somehow plans to get the carriers on-board to subsidize the cost of an iPad, then there is going to be no such thing as a cheap iPad 2 because there won't be enough of a price gap between the two devices. Even if the storage is dropped to 8GB, this makes little difference since the difference in supply chain costs between 8GB and 16GB of NAND flash storage is going to be less than $10.


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