Instapaper developer Marco Arment has discovered references to two unreleased iPad models in his app’s device stats – “one iPad2,5 and one iPad2,6.” The developer believes these are two versions of Apple’s iPad mini slated for October, and he speculates that it might boast old-gen hardware.
Armen’t blog post
includes a lengthy analysis on why he believes Apple is launching an altogether new product using old-generation parts that are now cheaper and easier to come by.
He believes “the iPad Mini is, basically, an iPad 2: an A5 with 512 MB of RAM and enough GPU power to drive the Gruber Display, but not a Retina Display.”
By “Gruber Display” he means a screen speculated by Apple pundit John Gruber that uses an 1024 x 768 resolution, just like the iPad 2. The display would not be Retina-grade, but it would nonetheless offer a crisper experience than the iPad 2.
“It’s a textbook Tim Cook supply-chain move: selling the last generation’s hardware at a lower price point to expand marketshare,” writes Arment.
Indeed, Apple is known to pull this move almost every year with the iPhone and iPad lines. The company keeps selling older versions of its iDevices boasting a tad less storage to keep production costs down.
Now, it has the chance to pull the same stunt by introducing what is effectively an all-new product. This will also enable the Cupertino giant to grab the lion’s share of the tablet market.
“But this time, it’s more dramatic,” Arment remarks.
“Rather than just sell the original iPad 2 with a price cut, they’ve made a new product designed to be far less expensive from day one by combining old and new parts: the 32nm iPad 2’s guts, larger-cut iPhone 3GS screens, a smaller case and battery, and the new iPhone’s low-power LTE chip for $100 more,” reads the developer’s analysis.
Arment estimates Apple plans to sell the device for $249 / €200, “and that would be a steal,” he says, arguing that “the iPad 2 is still great by today’s standards, and in some ways, it’s actually better than the iPad 3.”